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Atomic switcheroo explains origins of thin-film solar cell mystery

Treating cadmium-telluride solar cell materials with cadmium-chloride improves their efficiency, but researchers have not fully understood why. Now, an atomic-scale examination of the thin-film solar cells has answered this decades-long debate about the materials' photovoltaic efficiency increase after treatment.

Posted: Apr 23rd, 2014

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Filters made of graphene - the thinnest feasible membrane

A new nanomembrane made out of graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The membrane is as thin as is technologically feasible.

Posted: Apr 23rd, 2014

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Steering chemical reactions with laser pulses

With ultra-short laser pulses, chemical reactions can be controlled; electrons have little mass and are therefore influenced by the laser, whereas the atomic nuclei are much heavier and are hardly affected.

Posted: Apr 23rd, 2014

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Disorder on the nanoscale may be responsible for solar-cell efficiency

In the past few years, perovskite solar cells have made large leaps forward in efficiency, recently achieving energy conversion with up to 16 percent efficiency. These simple and promising devices are easy enough to make and are made up of earth abundant materials, but little work has been done to explore their atomic makeup.

Posted: Apr 23rd, 2014

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PETA science consortium to present hazard testing strategy at nanotoxicology meeting

PETA International Science Consortium will present a non-animal tiered-testing strategy for nanomaterial hazard assessment at the 7th International Nanotoxicology Congress being held in Antalya, Turkey on Apr. 23-26, 2014. The proposed strategy will generate meaningful information on nanomaterial properties and their interaction with biological systems.

Posted: Apr 22nd, 2014

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Quantum simulators developed to study inaccessible physical systems

Quantum simulators recreate the behaviour on a microscopic scale of biological and quantum systems and even of particles moving at the speed of light. The exact knowledge of these systems will lead to applications ranging from more efficient photovoltaic cells to more specific drugs. Researchers are working on the design of several of these quantum simulators so they can study the dynamics of complex physical systems.

Posted: Apr 22nd, 2014

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Nanomaterial outsmarts ions

Ions are an essential tool in chip manufacturing, but these electrically charged atoms can also be used to produce nano-sieves with homogeneously distributed pores. A particularly large number of electrons, however, must be removed from the atoms for this purpose. Such highly charged ions either lose a surprisingly large amount of energy or almost no energy at all as they pass through a membrane that measures merely one nanometer in thickness. This discovery is an important step towards developing novel types of electronic components made of graphene.

Posted: Apr 22nd, 2014

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Achieving higher solar-cell efficiency with zinc-oxide coating

Engineering researchers have achieved the highest efficiency ever in a 9 millimeter-squared solar cell made of gallium arsenide. After coating the cufflink-sized cells with a thin layer of zinc oxide, the research team reached a conversion efficiency of 14 percent.

Posted: Apr 22nd, 2014

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Cloaked DNA nanodevices survive pilot mission (w/video)

It's a familiar trope in science fiction: In enemy territory, activate your cloaking device. And real-world viruses use similar tactics to make themselves invisible to the immune system. Now scientists have mimicked these viral tactics to build the first DNA nanodevices that survive the body's immune defenses.

Posted: Apr 22nd, 2014

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