Do you want to be forever externalized? Then look no further than this new quartz coin that can store the history of humankind for 14 billion years.

As if the previous breakthrough of quartz glass storage that yielded a self-life of 300 million years wasn’t enough, the new research take nanotechnology to a whole new level.

To understand exactly how long 14 million years is, check out these stats via Futurism:

  • Age of Earth: 4.534 billion years
  • Age of the Universe: 13.82 billion years

The research comes out of Southampton University, where the group has essentially developed a way to fit on just one sliver of nanostructured quartz 350TB of information.

This form Futurism:

The technique uses femtosecond laser pulses to write data in the 3D structure of quartz at the nanoscale. The pulses create three layers of nanostructred dots, each just microns above the other. The changes in the structure can be read by interrogating the sample with another pulse of light and recording the orientation of the waves after they’ve passed through.

Read the full article.

At the very least, this development in 5D storage will change the way we archive historical information.

Nuclear PosterThe U.S. Department of Energy recently released a new series of posters illuminating a new generation of sustainable energy and green jobs. The series is reminiscent of the famous imagery created for the Works Progress Administration, only this time, the images depict a renewable energy revolution.

The posters accompany a report on the energy accomplishments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was signed into law seven years ago by President Obama.

(MORE: See all the the posters from the department of energy.)

The newly established law created the Section 1705 Loan Guarantee Program, which worked to spur economic growth while creating new jobs and saving existing ones.

Some of the key accomplishments of the act include the creating of 10,000 jobs in the energy industry, $16.1 billion in loans for renewable energy projects, and a newly developed infrastructure that can power an additional one million American homes annually.

The Recovery Act also launched utility-grade photovoltaic solar plants in the U.S. Prior to signing the act into law in 2009, there weren’t any plants larger than 100 megawatts in the country. Now, five major plants are producing significant amounts of energy and 28 more are scheduled for the future.

Overall, the posters remind citizens of the positive accomplishments that can be achieved when government and science work together as well as give us all a visual image of an optimistic view of a renewable future.

Powering Fuel Cells with Wastewater

The word “renewable” often triggers thoughts of solar and wind in the realm of energy technology.

Two researchers from Virginia Tech are now trying to change that perception, focusing on maximizing the amount of electricity that can be generated from the wastewater we flush down the toilet.

They’re turning poo into power.

(MORE: See what ECS scientists are doing to transform wastewater.)

“Tracing the bacteria gave us a major piece of the puzzle to start generating electricity in a sustainable way,” said Xueyang Feng, co-author of the study. “This is a step toward the growing trend to make wastewater treatment centers self-sustaining in the energy they use.”

Chemically Storing Solar Power

Solar Chemical Energy

UV light can now be stored at much higher temperatures thanks to the development of a photo-electrochemical cell.
Image: Advanced Functional Materials

A new photo-electrochemical cell has been developed with the potential to chemically store the sun’s energy at high temperatures.

It’s a concept pulled directly from nature: plants absorb sunlight and store it chemically. While the concept is simple, replicating it on a large scale has proven quite difficult.

Current photovoltaic technology can convert sunlight to electricity, but as temperatures increase, the solar cell efficiency consequently decreases.

Storage at high temperatures

The new concept developed by scientists at Vienna University of Technology looks to overcome these issues. Through a combination of specialized new materials, researchers were able to combine high temperature photovoltaics with an electrochemical cell.

From that point, the sun’s rays can be directly used to pump oxygen ions through a solid oxide electrolyte and the UV light is subsequently stored chemically. This breakthrough allows for the system to work at higher temperatures than ever before.

Mirroring a concept from nature

“This would allow us to concentrate sunlight with mirrors and build large-scale plants with a high rate of efficiency,” said Georg Brunauer, lead author of the study. “Our cell consists of two different parts – a photoelectric part on top and an electrochemical part below. In the upper layer, ultraviolet light creates free charge carriers, just like in a standard solar cell.”

Researchers hope this could lead the splitting water and the production of hydrogen.

“We want to understand the origin of these effects by carrying out a few more experiments, and we hope that we will be able to improve our materials even further,” Brunauer said. “This goal is within reach, now that we have shown that the cell is working.”

Sustainable Battery

The new carbon-based material for sodium-ion batteries can be extracted from apples.
Image: KIT

The saying goes: an apple a day keeps the doctor away; but in this case, an apple may be the answer to the next generation of energy storage technology.

ECS member Stefano Passerini of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is leading a study to extract carbon-based materials for sodium-ion batteries from organic apple waste.

Developing batteries from waste

This new development could help reduce the costs of future energy storage systems by applying a cheap material with excellent electrochemical properties to the already promising field of sodium-ion batteries.

(MORE: Read more research by Passerini.)

Many researchers are currently looking to sodium-ion batteries as the next generation of energy storage, with the ability to outpace the conventional lithium-ion battery.

The future of sodium-ion batteries

Interest in sodium-ion batteries dates back to the 1980s, but discoveries haven’t taken off until recently. Researchers are now finding way to combat low energy densities and short life cycles through using novel materials such as apples.

(MORE: Read the full paper in ChemElectroChem.)

Sodium-ion batteries could prove to be the next big thing in large scale energy storage due to the high abundance of materials used in development and the relatively low costs involved.

(more…)

Krishnan Rajeshwar

Krishnan Rajeshwar, ECS senior vice president and co-founder of UTA’s Center for Renewable Energy, Science and Technology

New research headed by ECS senior vice president Krishnan Rajeshwar has developed “green fuels” to power cars, home appliances, and even impact critical energy storage devices.

Solar fuels addressing global issues

Rajeshwar’s research works to address critical global and environmental issue by creating an inexpensive way to generate fuel from harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide.

(MORE: Read additional publications by Rajeshwar.)

The University of Texas at Arlington professor and 35 year ECS member has developed a novel high-performing material for cells that harness sunlight to split carbon dioxide and water into usable fuels like methanol and hydrogen gas.

From harmful to helpful

“Technologies that simultaneously permit us to remove greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide while harnessing and storing the energy of sunlight as fuel are at the forefront of current research,” Rajeshwar said. “Our new material could improve the safety, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of solar fuel generation, which is not yet economically viable.”

(MORE: Read the full study as published in ChemElectroChem Europe.)

This from University of Texas at Arlington:

The new hybrid platform uses ultra-long carbon nanotube networks with a homogeneous coating of copper oxide nanocrystals. It demonstrates both the high electrical conductivity of carbon nanotubes and the photocathode qualities of copper oxide, efficiently converting light into the photocurrents needed for the photoelectrochemical reduction process.

(more…)

Tesla for Kids

Tesla is most commonly known for its novel innovations in automobile technology, research into battery technology, and even the company’s dedication to open source knowledge. Now, the company is shifting gears to create a product for all the tiny Elon Musk fans out there.

Tesla, in collaboration with Radio Flyer, has recently produced line of electric vehicles for kids.

True to Tesla vehicles, the kid car is essentially a scale model of Tesla’s popular electric sedan.

Call for Papers: 2D Materials

Focus IssuesJSS Technical Editors: Fan Ren and Stefan De Gendt
and
Guest Editors: Lain-Jong (Lance) Li and Daniel S. P. Lau

invite you to submit to the:
JSS Focus Issue:
Properties, Devices, and Applications Based on 2D Layered Materials

Submission Deadline | May 18, 2016

This special issue of the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology focuses on properties, devices, and applications of two-dimensional (2D) based materials including boron nitrides, black phosphorous, transition metal dichalcogenides/oxides, and other layered materials beyond graphene.

Review and contributed papers are welcome in the following domains:

  • Materials preparation
  • Novel growth technology
  • Growth chemistry
  • Metal contacts
  • Surface cleaning and passivation
  • Wet and dry etching
  • Device design and processing integration
  • Device Physics
  • Device and growth simulation
  • Applications of 2D material based devices and systems
  • Heterostructures based on 2D materials

Submission Deadline | May 18, 2016

Please submit manuscripts at http://ecsjournals.msubmit.net

(Be sure to specify your submission is for the JSS Focus Issue on Properties, Devices, and Applications Based on 2D Layered Materials.)

Papers accepted into this focus issue are published online within 10 days of acceptance. The issue is created online an article at a time with the final article published in October 2016.

Submit Your Abstract for PRiME 2016!

Prepping for PRiME

Our meetings team was just in Hawaii prepping for PRiME!
See more here.

Now is the time to make your plans for October; submit an abstract today and join us at PRiME, from October 2-7, 2016 in Honolulu, HI at the Hawaii Convention Center and the Hilton Hawaiian Village!

Submit your abstract today!

As the Joint International Meeting of The Electrochemical Society, The Electrochemical Society of Japan, and The Korean Electrochemical Society, PRiME 2016 will be one of the largest meetings on electrochemical and solid-state science, featuring over 50 symposia in the following areas:

  • Batteries and Energy Storage
  • Carbon Nanostructures and Devices
  • Corrosion Science and Technology
  • Dielectric Science and Materials
  • Electrochemical/Electroless Deposition
  • Electrochemical Engineering
  • Electronic Materials and Processing
  • Electronic and Photonic Devices and Systems
  • Fuel Cells, Electrolyzers, and Energy Conversion
  • Luminescence and Display Materials, Devices, and Processing
  • Organic and Bioelectrochemistry
  • Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry, Electrocatalysis, and Photoelectrochemistry
  • Sensors
  • General Topics

Some of these symposia will honor the work of Zempachi Ogumi, Masahiro Seo, Milan Paunovic, Mordechay Schlesinger, and Bernard Tribollet, while others are long running standards in the areas of PEFC, Li-ion batteries, molten salts, photovoltaics, SiGe, MEMS/NEMS, magnetic materials, thin film transistors, atomic layer deposition, and semiconductors.

With all of these technical talks taking place in gorgeous Honolulu, Hawaii, you might never want to go home; check out the Call for Papers and see what symposia you will be presenting in!

Submit abstract!

PRiME 2016 abstract deadline: April 15, 2016.

See you in Hawaii!

New Semiconductor Material for Faster Electronics

The newly developed semiconductor material could eventually lead to electronic devices that are 100 percent faster.
Image: Dan Hixson/University of Utah College of Engineering

Thanks to a new development in semiconducting materials, our electronics may soon be faster all while consuming a lot less power.

The semiconductor is comprised of tin and oxygen and is only one atom thick, which allows electrical charges to move very quickly – much faster than comparable materials, such as silicon. This material also differs from conventional 3D materials, as it is 2D. The benefit of this material being 2D lies in the reduction of layers and thickness, thus allowing electronics to move faster.

This material has the ability to be applied to transistors, which are central to the majority of electronic devices.

This from the University of Utah:

While researchers in this field have recently discovered new types of 2D material such as graphene, molybdenun disulfide and borophene, they have been materials that only allow the movement of N-type, or negative, electrons. In order to create an electronic device, however, you need semiconductor material that allows the movement of both negative electrons and positive charges known as “holes.” The tin monoxide material discovered by Tiwari and his team is the first stable P-type 2D semiconductor material ever in existence.

(more…)