Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 2

From sun to hydrocarbon fuel Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have engineered a solar cell that cheaply and efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into usable hydrocarbon fuel, using only sunlight for energy. Unlike conventional solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity that must be stored in heavy batteries, the new device converts atmosph... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: July 12

Detecting zeptojoules Aalto University has broken the world’s record for microwave detection. Specifically, researchers detected zeptojoule microwave pulses using a superconducting microwave detector, based on proximity-induced Josephson junctions. This broke the record by fourteenfold, according to researchers. Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation. They have frequencies... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 19

3D microbatteries for large-scale on-chip integration By combining 3D holographic lithography and 2D photolithography, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created a high-performance 3D microbattery suitable for large-scale on-chip integration with microelectronic devices. According to Paul Braun, professor of materials science and engineering at Illinois, "Micr... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: July 23

Space Tubes In 2011, NASA produced a material that absorbs on average more than 99% of the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared light that hits it. NASA’s so-called “super-black” material is based on a thin layer of multi-walled carbon nanotubes. Tiny gaps between the nanotubes collect and trap light. The carbon absorbs the photons, preventing them from reflecting off surf... » read more