Nanotechnology

Researchers Use Sun to Produce Solar-Energy Materials

In a recent advance in solar energy, researchers have discovered a way to tap the sun not only as a source of power, but also to directly produce solar energy materials.This breakthrough by chemical engineers at Oregon State University could soon reduce the cost of solar energy, speed production processes, use environmentally benign materials, and make the sun a “one-stop shop” that produces both the materials for solar devices and the energy to power them.The work is based on the use of a “continuous flow” microreactor to produce nanoparticle inks that make solar cells by printing. In this process, simulated sunlight is focused on the solar microreactor to rapidly heat it, while allowing precise control of temperature to aid the quality of the finished product. The light in these experiments was produced artificially, but the process could be done with direct sunlight, and at a fraction of the cost of current approaches.SourceAlso: Read other Materials tech briefs.

Posted in: News, Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials, Nanotechnology

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Wireless Device Senses Chemical Vapors

A research team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has developed a small electronic sensing device that can alert users wirelessly to the presence of chemical vapors in the atmosphere. The technology, which could be manufactured using familiar aerosol-jet printing techniques, is aimed at myriad applications in military, commercial, environmental, and healthcare areas.The current design integrates nanotechnology and radio-frequency identification (RFID) capabilities into a small working prototype. An array of sensors uses carbon nanotubes and other nanomaterials to detect specific chemicals, while an RFID integrated circuit informs users about the presence and concentrations of those vapors at a safe distance wirelessly.Because it is based on programmable digital technology, the RFID component can provide greater security, reliability and range – and much smaller size – than earlier sensor designs based on non-programmable analog technology. The present GTRI prototype is 10 centimeters square, but further designs are expected to squeeze a multiple-sensor array and an RFID chip into a one-millimeter-square device printable on paper or on flexible, durable substrates such as liquid crystal polymer.SourceAlso: Learn about Extended-Range Passive RFID and Sensor Tags.

Posted in: News, Communications, Wireless, Defense, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Environmental Monitoring, Green Design & Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Medical, Nanotechnology, RF & Microwave Electronics, Semiconductors & ICs, Detectors, Sensors

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Low-Cost Paper Test Detects Cancer in Minutes

A simple, cheap, paper test has been developed that could improve cancer diagnosis rates and help people get treated earlier. The diagnostic, which works much like a pregnancy test, could reveal within minutes, based on a urine sample, whether a person has cancer. The technology relies on nanoparticles that interact with tumor proteins called proteases, each of which can trigger release of hundreds of biomarkers that are easily detectable in urine.

Posted in: News, Medical, Nanotechnology

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Transparent Display System Could Provide Heads-Up Data

Transparent displays have a variety of potential applications — such as the ability to see navigation or dashboard information while looking through the windshield of a car or plane, or to project video onto a window or a pair of eyeglasses. A number of technologies have been developed for such displays, but all have limitations.

Posted in: News, Nanotechnology

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New Material Enables Improved Ultrasound

Ultrasound technology could soon be improved to produce high-quality, high-resolution images, thanks to the development of a new key material by a team of researchers in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University, College Station.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Imaging, Materials, Metals, Bio-Medical, Diagnostics, Imaging, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Nanotechnology, Optics, Photonics

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'Nanoflowers' for Energy Storage and Solar Cells

North Carolina State University researchers have created flower-like structures out of germanium sulfide (GeS) – a semiconductor material – that have extremely thin petals with an enormous surface area. The GeS flowers hold promise for next-generation energy storage devices and solar cells.

Posted in: News, News, Batteries, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Materials, Nanotechnology

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Record Efficiency for Next-Generation Solar Cells

Researchers from the University of Toronto (U of T) and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) have made a breakthrough in the development of colloidal quantum dot (CQD) films. The researchers created a solar cell out of inexpensive materials that was certified at a world-record 7.0% efficiency.

Posted in: News, News, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Nanotechnology, Semiconductors & ICs

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