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Nanotechnology Spotlights

Perovskite solar cells - a true alternative to silicon?

flexible_photovoltaicsThe growing need for 'green' energy sources combined with silicon solar cells' stagnating power conversion efficiencies have lead to a keen search for an alternative to silicon that would bring about a major change. Perovskite solar cell technology, boasting potential for high efficiency, low-cost scalable photovoltaic solar cells, may just be a suitable contender in this race. Perovskites, a class of materials that share...

Posted: Dec 01, 2016

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Flexible thermoelectric nanogenerator on paper

flexible_nanogeneratorFlexible thermoelectric generators that are capable of producing electricity out of a temperature difference could have many applications in consumer and medical electronics. However, conventional thermoelectric materials are rigid and brittle and don't lend themselves to be used with flexible devices. Researchers have now demonstrated a flexible paper-based devices can be easily stacked or efficiently folded and cut through...

Posted: Nov 30, 2016

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Programmable plasmons by strain engineering

plasmonicsMetal nanoparticles can concentrate light near their surface through the excitation of surface plasmons, which are collective oscillations of electrons. Depending on the size and shape of the metal particles, surface plasmons can show a range of different optical responses and colors. In new work, researchers have now achieved narrow optical resonances and tailoring of the plasmonic resonance within a single system. Since...

Posted: Nov 29, 2016

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Improving the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries with coaxial nanotubes

nanotubesLithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries, which employ sulfur as cathode and metallic lithium as anode materials, have been extensively studied as promising alternatives to the widely used lithium-ion batteries because - theoretically - they can render 3-6 times higher energy density than conventional lithium-ion batteries. However, due to the intrinsic insulating nature of the active material (sulfur and lithium sulfide), Li-S batteries...

Posted: Nov 24, 2016

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Stick-on epidermal electronics tattoo to measure UV exposure (w/video)

epidermal_electronicsA skin-like, wearable system combines colorimetric and electronic function for precise dosimetry in the UV-A and UV-B regions of the spectrum. This platform is suitable for determination of instantaneous UV exposure levels and skin temperature. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major risk factor for most skin cancers. UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells. Skin cancers start when this damage affects the DNA of genes...

Posted: Nov 23, 2016

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Germany's Nanotechnology 2020 Action Plan

sphereThe 'Action Plan Nanotechnology 2020' introduces the Federal Government's inter-departmental support strategy for nanotechnology in the period 2016-2020. It thus pursues the objective of continuing to exploit the opportunities and potential of nanotechnology in Germany, without disregarding any potential risks to humans and the environment. Inn addition to a description of the status quo of national nanotechnology, for the...

Posted: Nov 22, 2016

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From gene sequencing to genome mapping with nanopores and nanochannels

genome_sequencingOne reason why people are so excited about nanopore DNA sequencing is that the technology could possibly be used to create 'tricorder'-like devices for detecting pathogens or diagnosing genetic disorders rapidly and on-the-spot. Sequencing technologies have made it cheaper and faster to read the sequence of bases on a strand of DNA. A promising technology to take these advances further is nanopore sequencing. Yet, nanopores...

Posted: Nov 21, 2016

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A new way to make nanostructured phosphides for efficient water splitting

NiCoP_nanostructureEfficient water splitting for large-scale, industrial applications requires highly active, low cost, and robust catalysts. Motivated by this challenge, enormous efforts have been devoted to developing cost-efficient alternatives including sulfides, selenides, phosphides, and many other nonprecious transition metal compounds. Now, scientists have shown for the first time that metals or metal hydroxides can be rapidly converted...

Posted: Nov 17, 2016

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