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Power/Performance Bits: Oct. 16


On-chip modulator Researchers at Harvard SEAS and Nokia Bell Labs boosted shrunk down an important component of optoelectronics with an on-chip modulator that is 100 times smaller and 20 times more efficient than current lithium niobite (LN) modulators. Lithium niobate modulators form the basis of modern telecommunications, converting electronic data to optical information in fiber optic ca... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Sept. 18


Etching photovoltaics Researchers at Michigan Technological University and Aalto University found a way to reduce production costs of black silicon solar cells by more than 10%. The first prototype modules have been manufactured on an industrial production line. Typically, the silicon used for solar cells is etched to reduce reflected light, although some light is still lost. Nano-texturing... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Sept. 11


Non-toxic photoluminescent nanoparticles Researchers from Osaka University developed a way to improve display technologies using non-toxic light-emitting nanoparticles. In trying to replace cadmium and other toxic materials used in quantum dots, scientists have turned to non-toxic nanoparticles that emit light in an efficient manner by creating I–III–VI semiconductors, such as silver in... » 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: Aug. 7


Optical neural network Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have made a silicon chip that distributes optical signals precisely across a miniature brain-like grid, showcasing a potential new design for neural networks. Using light would eliminate interference due to electrical charge and the signals would travel faster and farther, said the researchers. "... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: July 31


Training optical neural networks Researchers from Stanford University used an optical chip to train an artificial neural network, a step that could lead to faster, more efficient AI tasks. Although optical neural networks have been recently demonstrated, the training step was performed using a model on a traditional digital computer and the final settings were then imported into the optical... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: July 16


Bacterial solar Researchers at the University of British Columbia developed a solar cell that uses bacteria to convert light to energy. The cell worked as efficiently in dim light as in bright light, making solar a potential option in areas of the world that frequently have overcast skies. Called biogenic cells, they work by utilizing the natural dye that bacteria use for photosynthesis. Pr... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: June 19


Tandem solar reaches 25.2% efficiency In the push for ever-more efficient solar panels, researchers are turning to tandem, or double-junction, photovoltaics. Tandem solar panels use two different types of solar cell capable of absorbing different wavelengths of light stacked on top of each other to maximize the conversion of light rays into electrical power. Recently, two groups have reache... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: June 12


AI for solar materials In the search for better organic photovoltaic materials, researchers at Osaka University turned to machine learning to help identify candidates. While organic photovoltaics (OPVs) are promising on a cost basis, they do not yet have the required power conversion efficiency (PCE) necessary for commercialization. A key element in this is the semiconducting polymer layer. ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 15


Aluminum battery materials Scientists from ETH Zurich and Empa identified two new materials that could boost the development of aluminum batteries, a potential low cost, materially abundant option for temporary storage of renewable energy. The first is a corrosion-resistant material for the conductive parts of the battery; the second is a novel material for the battery's positive pole that ... » read more

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