News

New Method for Boosting the Light Output of Green LEDs

A Rensselaer research team led by Christian Wetzel, a professor of physics, etched a nanoscale pattern at the interface between a light-emitting diode’s (LED) sapphire base and the layer of gallium nitride (GaN) that gives the LED its green color. The new technique results in green LEDs with notable enhancements in light extraction, internal efficiency, and light output. The discovery brings Wetzel one step closer to his goal of developing a high-performance, low-cost green LED.

Posted in: News, Lighting, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Product development, Chemicals, Nanotechnology
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Unusual Effect May Lead to More Efficient Thermoelectric Devices

Berkeley Lab scientists have found that temperature gradients in semiconductors, when one side of the device is hotter than the opposite side, can produce electronic vortices – whirlpools of electric current – and can, at the same time, create magnetic fields at right angles to both the plane of the swirling electric currents and the direction of the heat gradient.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Thermoelectrics
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Will greater robotics initiatives hurt more than help?

This week's Question: Last month, the White House announced the National Robotics Initiative, a major program to develop next-generation robots for manufacturing, healthcare, and other areas. The robotics community received the project with enthusiasm, but some observers expressed concern about an expansion in automation. Some argue that processes carried out by robotic systems, like special surgeries and auto manufacturing tasks, are of a higher quality than those performed by a human, and they are essential for keeping companies competitive, and thus able to expand and hire more workers. Others, however, say that a greater move to automation will minimize the number of blue-collar and white-collar jobs.   What do you think? Will greater robotics initiatives hurt more than help?  

 

Posted in: Question of the Week
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New 3D Photonic Crystals Are Electronically and Optically Active

Researchers at the University of Illnois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated the first optoelectronically active 3D photonic crystal - an advance that could open new avenues for solar cells, LEDs, lasers, and more.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Solar Power, Lighting
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Is there money in the moon?

This week's Question: Driven by a $30 million prize put up by Google, more  than two dozen teams have signed up for a competition to become the first  private venture to land on the Moon. That means spacecrafts could be heading out within a few years, and many entrepreneurs are developing possible ideas that could take commercial advantage of Earth's neighbor. Some say that the  endeavors are too expensive and the market is uncertain at this point, while others, including a former NASA computer scientist turned entrepreneur, say  that the numerous potential Moon business, from exclusive video feeds to  lunar lander trips, present "probably the biggest wealth creation opportunity in modern history."   Do you agree? Is there money in the moon?  

Posted in: Question of the Week
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Meet Our Readers: Sid Wood, Senior Scientist Engineer, Aircraft Navigation

In a new series, the editors of NASA Tech Briefs magazine catch up with everyday engineers about their unique responsibilities and challenges. This week, we highlight fellow reader and aircraft navigation system professional, Sid Wood.

Posted in: Articles, News, Aeronautics
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Making Biomass Economically Viable

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center have found a potential key for unlocking the energy potential from non-edible biomass materials such as corn leaves and stalks, or switch grass.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Alternative Fuels, Biomass, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing
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Should we say good-bye to the incandescent light bulb?

While Congress failed to repeal light bulb efficiency standards last week, many had been debating the importance of LED bulbs and compact fluorescents. Supporters of incandescents say that the light source is cheap compared to alternatives, and its quality is fairly good. Others argue that the bulbs are inefficient, and that a move towards LEDs and flourescents will save energy in the long term and help the environment. What do you think? Should we say good-bye to the incandescent light bulb? Yes or no?
Posted in: Question of the Week
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Solar Panels Act as Roof Shades

A team of researchers led by Jan Kleissl, a professor of environmental engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, determined that during the day, a building’s ceiling was 5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler under solar panels than under an exposed roof. At night, the panels help hold heat in - reducing heating costs in the winter.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power
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Method for Doping Nanocrystals Could Up Efficiency of Solar Panels

A team of researchers have demonstrated how semiconductor nanocrystals can be doped in order to change their electronic properties and be used as conductors. This opens a world of possibilities for applications of small electronic and electro-optical devices, such as diodes and photodiodes, electric components in cellular phones, digital cameras, and solar panels.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Solar Power, Lighting
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