Apr 16

Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells

shinyquantumLink:  Quantum dots are ultra-small bits of semiconductor

Matter that can be synthesized with nearly atomic precision via modern methods of colloidal chemistry. Their emission color can be tuned by simply varying their dimensions. Color tunability is combined with high emission efficiencies approaching 100 percent. These properties have recently become the basis of a new technology – quantum dot displays – employed, for example, in the newest generation of the Kindle Fire e-reader.that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot work by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers in collaboration with scientists from University of Milano-Bicocca (UNIMIB), Italy. Their project demonstrates that superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping more efficiently harvest sunlight.

Apr 16

Scientists gain new insight into mysterious electronic phenomenon

1-scientistsgaLink:  High temperature superconductors

For more than a quarter of a century, high-temperature superconductors – materials that can transmit electric current without any resistance – have perplexed scientists who seek to understand the physical phenomena responsible for their unique properties.Despite their name, high-temperature superconductors are actually quite cold – roughly 250 degrees to 350 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Conventional superconductors, like those used in MRI machines or particle accelerators, are even colder. Even though they are still quite cold, high-temperature superconductors are of special interest to researchers because, at least in theory, they are much easier to keep sufficiently cold and are thus potentially more useful.

Apr 16

Micro-macro entangled ‘cat states’ could one day test quantum gravity

micromacroenLink:  A cat’s quantum state becomes entangled with the quantum 

In Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment, a cat’s quantum state becomes entangled with the quantum state of a decaying nucleus, resulting in the odd situation that the cat is both alive and dead at the same time. The thought experiment was originally intended to convey the absurdity of applying quantum mechanics to macroscopic objects, but recently physicists have been questioning whether “quantum” effects such as entanglement and superposition may apply on all scales.

Apr 14

Novel way to make ethanol without corn or other plants

yuhvbkjnkLink:  Ethanol from CO2

Two years ago, Kanan and Li created a novel electrode made of a material they called oxide-derived copper. They used the term “oxide-derived” because the metallic electrode was produced from copper oxide.”Conventional copper electrodes consist of individual nanoparticles that just sit on top of each other,” Kanan said. “Oxide-derived copper, on the other hand, is made of copper nanocrystals that are all linked together in a continuous network with well-defined grain boundaries. The process of transforming  into metallic copper creates the network of nanocrystals.”

Apr 14

New breakthrough could lead to body-powered wearables

imgresLink:  Skin temperature a source of electricity

A team of researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) may have overcome one of the biggest hurdles facing wearable tech devices if they are to go mainstream — poor battery life. Even the biggest fans of Google Glass complain that the headset can only go roughly eight hours before the battery dies, and if the camera and video are in use, then that time falls drastically to one-to-two hours at best. Likewise, the first generation of Samsung smartwatches came in for criticism for having a useful life of less than a full day.


Apr 11

Combined heat and power has promise, faces hurdles in Ohio

TurbineGen_0048fLink:  Micro turbine produces electricity and heat at over 75% efficiency

Ohio businesses can achieve high energy efficiency and save huge amounts of money with combined heat and power (CHP), say industry leaders who attended an Energy Ohio Network program on Wednesday.However, speakers and program attendees say, Ohio’s regulatory and legislative landscape have made it harder for businesses to reap those benefits.The good and bad news for CHP is part of the bigger picture for energy efficiency in Ohio.On the “good news” front, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) issued a new report finding that Ohio and other states with energy efficiency standards have already saved enough electricity to power nearly 2 million homes for a year.

Apr 09

Large Hadron Collider team announces beginning of restart

lhcLink:  The team of scientists working at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

facility has reported to the press that the process of restarting the massive experimental mechanism has begun—though it won’t finish until sometime next year. The world’s most complicated system of machines will have to be restarted in pieces to ensure that each is operating properly before the next can be brought online.Though proving the existence of the Higgs boson was a major goal, and achieving it garnered a lot of headlines, the facility at CERN has made progress in other areas as well—the creation of quark–gluon plasma back in 2011, is but one example. Now the facility is in the process of an upgrade, which has been in the planning stages for several years and will include upgrades to several pieces and parts of the facility that support the LHC as well as the main accelerator itself.

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