Power/Performance Bits: Sept. 4


Preventing battery fires Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Rochester developed a method to prevent lithium-ion batteries from catching on fire when damaged. "In a lithium-ion battery, a thin piece of plastic separates the two electrodes," said Gabriel Veith, a research lead at ORNL. "If the battery is damaged and the plastic layer fails, the electrodes can... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 21


Physical neural network Engineers at UCLA built a physical artificial neural network capable of identifying objects as light passes through a series of 3D printed polymer layers. Called a "diffractive deep neural network," it uses the light bouncing from the object itself to identify that object, a process that consumes no energy and is faster than traditional computer-based methods of imag... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 29


Using bandwidth like a fish Researchers from the University of Georgia developed a method to make fuller use of wireless bandwidth, inspired by a cave-dwelling fish's jamming avoidance response. Eigenmannia fish live in complete darkness, sensing their environment and communicating through emitting an electric field. When two fish emit signals at similar frequencies they can interfere with ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Feb. 6


Recycling cathodes Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego developed an energy-efficient recycling process that restores used cathodes from spent lithium ion batteries. The process involves harvesting the degraded cathode particles from a used battery and then boiling and heat treating them. In new batteries built with the cathodes, charge storage capacity, charging time and ba... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Jan. 2


Hydrogen from seawater Engineers at Columbia University are developing an ocean-based photovoltaic-powered electrolysis device that can operate as a stand-alone floating platform to split water into hydrogen fuel and oxygen. State-of-the-art electrolyzers use expensive membranes to maintain separation of the H2 and O2 gases produced by water electrolysis. The new device relies instead on an... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: June 20


Batteries from scrap metal Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Jilin University found a method to transform rusty stainless steel mesh into electrodes with outstanding electrochemical properties that make them ideal for potassium-ion batteries. The rust is converted directly into a compact layer with a grid structure that can store potassium ions. A coating of reduced graphite... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 2


Turning bottles into batteries Researchers at the University of California, Riverside used waste glass bottles and a low-cost chemical process to create nanosilicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries. Billions of glass bottles end up in landfills every year, prompting the researchers to ask whether silicon dioxide in waste beverage bottles could provide high purity silicon ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: April 4


Self-sustaining microbial fuel cell Researchers at Binghamton University developed the first micro-scale self-sustaining microbial fuel cell, which generates power through the symbiotic interactions of two types of bacteria. A mixed culture of phototrophic and heterotrophic bacteria were placed in a 90-microliter cell chamber, or about one-fifth the size of a teaspoon. Phototrophic bacter... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: March 14


Magnetic storage on one atom Scientists at IBM Research created a single-atom magnet and were able to store one bit of data on it, making it the world's smallest magnetic storage device. Using electrical current, the researchers showed that two magnetic atoms could be written and read independently even when they were separated by just one nanometer. This tight spacing could, the team hop... » read more