Thursday, October 6, 2011
Displays that can be rolled up and flexible solar cells -- both are potential future markets. Barrier layers that protect thin-film solar cells from oxygen and water vapor and thus increase their useful life are an essential component.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
A team of scientists has discovered a new mineral -- krotite, one of the earliest minerals formed in our solar system. It is the main component of an unusual inclusion embedded in a meteorite (NWA 1934), found in northwest Africa. These objects, known as refractory inclusions, are thought to be the first planetary materials formed in our solar system, dating back to before the formation of Earth and the other planets.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Sun-free photovoltaics: Materials engineered to give off precisely tuned wavelengths of light when heated
A new photovoltaic energy-conversion system can be powered solely by heat, generating electricity with no sunlight at all. While the principle involved is not new, a novel way of engineering the surface of a material to convert heat into precisely tuned wavelengths of light -- selected to match the wavelengths that photovoltaic cells can best convert to electricity -- makes the new system much more efficient than previous versions.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
In a head-to-head battle of harvesting the sun's energy, solar cells beat plants. But scientists think they can even up the playing field. Plants are less efficient at capturing the energy in sunlight than solar cells mostly because they have too much evolutionary baggage.