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

Power/Performance Bits: March 29

Photonic-phononic circuit Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed a piezo-optomechanical circuit that converts signals among optical, acoustic and radio waves. At the heart of the piezoelectric optomechanical circuit is an optomechanical cavity, which consists of a suspended nanoscale beam. Within the beam are a series of holes that act like a ha... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Jan. 26

New switchable material Two MIT researchers developed a thin-film material whose phase and electrical properties can be switched between metallic and semiconducting simply by applying a small voltage. The material then stays in its new configuration until switched back by another voltage. The discovery could pave the way for a new kind of nonvolatile memory. The findings involve the thin-... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: July 21

Hybrid crystals for efficient LEDs A team from the University of Toronto combined two promising solar cell materials together for the first time, creating a new platform for LED technology. The team designed a way to embed strongly luminescent nanoparticles called colloidal quantum dots into perovskite. Perovskites are a family of materials that can be easily manufactured from solution, a... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 12

Quantum teleportation on a chip Researchers at the University of Tokyo have successfully integrated the core circuits of quantum teleportation, which generate and detect quantum entanglement, into silica-optical-waveguide circuits on a silicon photonic chip measuring 0.0001 square meters. While there has been significant progress in current technology of information processing, its perfor... » read more