Power/Performance Bits: Dec. 6


Perovskites for data storage Scientists at EPFL developed a new perovskite material whose magnetic order can be rapidly changed without disrupting it due to heating that could potentially be used to build next-generation hard drives. "We have essentially discovered the first magnetic photoconductor," said Bálint Náfrádi, a postdoc at EPFL. This new crystal structure combines the advant... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Nov. 29


PV technology comparison Joshua J. Romero at the IEEE Spectrum put together an overview of photovoltaic technologies, including the world records for each type of cell, grouped into five broad categories. There is a brief overview of each cell type and some of its trade-offs. He also looks at how fast each technology has made efficiency gains. The most rapid progress is being seen in high... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Nov. 23


Increasing lithium battery density Researchers at Columbia University developed a new method to increase the energy density of lithium batteries using a trilayer structure that is stable in ambient air. "When lithium batteries are charged the first time, they lose anywhere from 5-20% energy in that first cycle," said Yuan Yang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at C... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Nov. 15


Another record-breaking tandem perovskite solar cell University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists report a new design for perovskite solar cells that achieves an average steady-state efficiency of 18.4%, with a high of 21.7% and a peak efficiency of 26%. "This has a great potential to be the cheapest photovoltaic on the market, plugging into any... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Oct. 25


Energy-harvesting floor Engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed a flooring material which can be used as a triboelectric nanogenerator to convert footsteps into electricity. The method uses wood pulp, a common waste material already often used in flooring. The pulp is partly make of cellulose nanofibers, which when chemically treated produce an electrical charge when th... » read more

System Bits: Oct. 11


Carbon Is So 2015 Researchers at MIT have created a supercapacitor that relies on a material other than carbon. This new class of materials, called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), are a porous and sponge-like, according to MIT, tthereby providing a much larger surface area than carbon. As with most things electrical, more surface area is essential for superconductors. The problem the re... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Oct. 4


Solar battery Chemists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia integrated solar cells with a large-capacity battery in a single device that eliminates the usual intermediate step of making electricity and, instead, transfers the energy directly to the battery's electrolyte. The team used a redox flow battery, or R... » read more

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

Power/Performance Bits: July 12


Thin transistors Scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory developed a way to chemically assemble transistors and circuits that are only a few atoms thick. The team controlled the synthesis of a transistor in which narrow channels were etched onto conducting graphene, with molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) seeded in the blank channels. Both of these m... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 17


Shrinking perovskites Researchers from Imperial College London, Oxford University, Diamond Light Source, Pohang University of Science and Technology in Korea, and Rutgers University have discovered a material that can be chemically tailored to either expand or contract in a precise way and over a wide temperature range. This could lead to new composite materials that do not expand when heate... » read more

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