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: May 10

Non-toxic thin-films A team at Australia's University of New South Wales achieved the world's highest efficiency using flexible solar cells that are non-toxic and cheap to make, with a record 7.6% efficiency in a 1cm2 area thin-film CZTS cell. Unlike its thin-film competitors, CZTS cells are made from abundant materials: copper, zinc, tin and sulphur, and has none of the toxicity problems... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: July 28

Synthesizing graphene on silicon Researchers from Korea University, in Seoul, developed an easy and microelectronics-compatible method to grow graphene and have successfully synthesized wafer-scale (four inches in diameter), high-quality, multi-layer graphene on silicon substrates. The method is based on an ion implantation technique, a process in which ions are accelerated under an electric... » 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

Power/Performance Bits: Feb. 10

Solar power technology progresses at a snappy pace and the diversity of approaches keeps expanding. In this edition, investigations in two aspects of solar energy design: understanding a potential solar cell material and a design to make those we use now more effective. Unravelling the peculiarities of nanocrystals Researchers at ETH Zurich conducted an extensive study of nanocrystal ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Dec. 30

Crafting ultrathin color coatings Harvard University researchers have developed a technique that coats a metallic object with an extremely thin layer of semiconductor, just a few nanometers thick. And while the semiconductor is a steely gray color, the object ends up shining in vibrant hues because the coating exploits interference effects in the thin films. Carefully tuned in the laboratory, ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Nov. 25

Better photodetectors Photodetectors are semiconductor devices that convert incoming light into electrical signals used in a vast array of products, from visible and infrared light detection systems to television remote controls. Meanwhile, perovskite is an organic-inorganic hybrid material with a crystal structure that is very efficient at converting light into electricity, and in recent year... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Sept. 23

Improved liquid battery Researchers at MIT, led by a materials chemistry professor, have improved a proposed liquid battery system that could enable renewable energy sources to compete with conventional power plants. Professor Donald Sadoway and some colleagues have already started a company to produce electrical-grid-scale liquid batteries, with layers of molten material that automatically... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 19

Spray-on power In a discovery that could help cut the cost of solar electricity, a team of scientists at the University of Sheffield has fabricated perovskite solar cells using a spray-painting process. The researchers had used the spray-painting method previously to produce solar cells using organic semiconductors - but using perovskite is a major step forward, they asserted. Efficient ... » read more

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