Innovation in Spray-on Solar Power

The SparyLD system developed by University of Toronto researchers can spray colloidal quantum dots onto flexible surfaces.Credit: University of Toronto

The SparyLD system developed by University of Toronto researchers can spray colloidal quantum dots onto flexible surfaces.
Credit: University of Toronto

Teams of scientists from around the world have been working on a way to produce spray-on solar cells for some time now. Recently, a team from the University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering has moved to the forefront of the race due to their latest breakthrough involving a new method for spraying solar cells onto flexible surfaces.

The prototype applies colloidal quantum dots via spray. These dots are a type of nanotechnology material that are light-sensitive.

This from Gizmag:

In such spray on solar cells, quantum dots would act as the absorbing photovoltaic material. Because they have a band gap that can be tuned by altering the size of their nanoparticles, they can be made to soak up different parts of the solar spectrum. This could prove particularly valuable if they were to be used in multi-junction solar cells, where dots small and large could sit alongside each other to widen the cells’ energy harvesting potential.

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Life’s First Spark Re-Created

A recently conducted experiment may give us a better understanding of how the Earth possibly began.

Scientists took to the lab with a powerful 500-foot laser to re-create what might have been the original spark of life on Earth.

This from Associated Press:

The researchers zapped clay and a chemical soup with the laser to simulate the energy of a speeding asteroid smashing into the planet. They ended up creating what can be considered crucial pieces of the building blocks of life.

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Solar Tech to Enable First Underground Park

The Lowline is not just a design project. It’s not just an example of innovative technology. It’s not just an effort to revitalize a community. The Lowline is an example of how science and drive can improve and transform the landscape of modern cities.

If you haven’t yet heard of Lowline, it will essentially be an underground park powered by innovative solar technology located in the 116-year-old abandoned Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The technology is designed by James Ramsay of Raad Studio, who looks to overcome subterranean limitations with his underground oasis of plants and trees.

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Old Blu-Ray Discs to Make Better Solar Panels

An interdisciplinary team from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science discovered that using the data storage pattern from a Blu-ray disc improves solar cell performance and that video content doesn’t matter.Credit: Northwestern University

An interdisciplinary team from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science discovered that using the data storage pattern from a Blu-ray disc improves solar cell performance and that video content doesn’t matter.
Credit: Northwestern University

Since its launch, the Blu-ray disc has been promoted as the bigger, better, and more impressive way to view movies at home. But researchers from Northwestern University are now telling us that Blu-ray discs are good for more than just giving us a better home viewing experience.

An interdisciplinary team from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University has published research stating that Blu-ray discs can be used to improve the performance of solar cells.

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Chemical Sponge to Lessen Carbon Footprint

A new chemical sponge out of the University of Nottingham has the potential to lessen the carbon footprint of the oil industry.

Professor Martin Schröder and Dr. Sihai Yang of the University of Nottingham led a multi-disciplinary team from various institutions, which resulted in the discovery of this novel chemical sponge that separates a number of important gases from mixtures generated during crude oil refinement.

Crude oil has many uses – from fueling cars and heating homes to creating polymers and other useful materials. However, the existing process for producing this fuel has not been as efficient as it could possibly be.

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Graphene Applied to Body Armor

The ballistic test shows that graphene is excellent at both absorbing and spreading the energy of an impact.Credit: Jae-Hwang Lee

The ballistic test shows that graphene is excellent at both absorbing and spreading the energy of an impact.
Credit: Jae-Hwang Lee

We’ve been talking a lot about graphene – from its potential in energy storage to its ability to improve and revolutionize personal electronic devices, this material seems to be everywhere. Now, engineers out of the University of Massachusetts believe it could help save lives.

Engineers developed a mock-up of multilayered graphene body armor and tested it in a miniature shooting range. The results suggest that graphene may be able to absorb 10 times the amount of energy that its steel competitor can before failing.

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Cyborg Roaches Advance Science

roach

Photographs of Blaberus discoidalis (A), the transmitter circuit (B) and of a quarter coin (C) to compare the scales involved.

While browsing through the vast array of Open Access articles that ECS hosts in its Digital Library, one title in particular caught our eye here at headquarters.

I mean, it is pretty hard to ignore an academic article titled “Wireless Communication by an Autonomous Self-Powered Cyborg Insect.

The article, published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society by researchers from Case Western Reserve University (one of the authors is ECS Board of Directors Senior VP Dan Scherson), details – to put it simply – how a cyborg cockroach can generate and transmit signals wirelessly.

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7 New Job Postings in Electrochemistry

Find openings in your area via the ECS job board.

Find openings in your area via the ECS job board.

ECS’s job board keeps you up-to-date with the latest career opportunities in electrochemical and solid-state science. Check out the latest openings that have been added to the board:

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Chemical Engineering
Case Western Reserve University – Cleveland, Ohio
The Postdoctoral Research Associate will conduct research and development on titanium electrowinning from molten salts. Technical responsibilities will include high-temperature electrochemical reactor design and fabrication, experimental investigations of electrodeposition from molten salts, and some mathematical modeling studies.

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Let’s Hear It for LEDs

More and more households are using LED light bulbs due to improved efficiency, reliability, and now a more affordable cost over their incandescent cousins. With droves of scientists researching in the area of LED and producing new developments, these bulbs are beginning to become the new norm.

Let’s take a look at the journey the LED bulb has gone though thus far.

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First Solar-Powered Bike Lane in Netherlands

SolaRoad coverts sunlight on the road surface into electricity: the road network works as an inexhaustible source of green power.Credit: SolaRoad

SolaRoad converts sunlight on the road surface into electricity: the road network works as an inexhaustible source of green power.
Credit: SolaRoad

A solar-powered cycle path – called SolaRoad – has been unveiled in the Netherlands. The path can generate enough electricity to power three households, reports BBC.

The new path has been installed in Kormmenie, which is 25 kilometers from Amsterdam. While the path is currently 70 meters long, it will be extended to 100 meters by 2016.

Dr. Sten de Wit from SolaRoad believes that this is just the beginning for solar-powered paths. Dr. de Wit foresees solar roads eventually being used to power the electric vehicles that use them, similar to Dutch developer Heijmans and designer Daan Roosegaard in their “smart highway.”

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