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New solar energy conversion process could revamp solar power production

A new process that simultaneously combines the light and heat of solar radiation to generate electricity could offer more than double the efficiency of existing solar cell technology. The process, called 'photon enhanced thermionic emission', or PETE, could reduce the costs of solar energy production enough for it to compete with oil as an energy source.

Posted: Aug 2nd, 2010

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Hydrogen causes metal to break

Hydrogen is considered the fuel of the future. Yet this lightest of the chemical elements can embrittle the metals used in vehicle engineering. The result: components suddenly malfunction and break. A new special laboratory is aiding researchers' search for hydrogen-compatible metals.

Posted: Aug 2nd, 2010

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Nanoparticle-coated pavement that cleans the air

The concentrations of toxic nitrogen oxide that are present in German cities regularly exceed the maximum permitted levels. That's now about to change, as innovative paving slabs that will help protect the environment are being introduced. Coated in titanium dioxide nanoparticles, they reduce the amount of nitrogen oxide in the air.

Posted: Aug 2nd, 2010

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For the first time, atomic force microscopy helps scientists reveal the exact chemical structure of a natural compound

In a pioneering research project, for the first time, scientists at IBM and the University of Aberdeen have collaborated to 'see' the structure of a marine compound from the deepest place on the Earth using an atomic force microscope (AFM). The results of the project open up new possibilities in biological research which could lead to the faster development of new medicines in the future.

Posted: Aug 2nd, 2010

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Silicon can be made to melt in reverse

Researchers have found that silicon, the most widely used material for computer chips and solar cells, can exhibit this strange property of 'retrograde melting' when it contains high concentrations of certain metals dissolved in it.

Posted: Aug 2nd, 2010

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