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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New Electrochemistry Knowledge Base

After 30 years of research at Argonne National Laboratory, ECS's Zoltan Nagy edits and updates his Electrochemistry Knowledge Base and serves as the Society's Historian.

After 30 years of research at Argonne National Laboratory, ECS’s Zoltan Nagy edits and updates his Electrochemistry Knowledge Base and serves as the ECS Historian.

What is electrochemistry? Why should society as a whole care?

Long time ECS member, Zoltan Nagy, is partnering with The Electrochemical Society in an attempt to answer these questions with the relaunch of his Electrochemistry Knowledge Base.

Since the late 90s, Nagy has been compiling this huge network of electrochemical knowledge in order to showcase why electrochemistry is so vital to the growth and nourishment of society.

“It may sound selfish, but I think electrochemistry is very important for society and people know very little about it,” says Nagy.

He began compiling the site during the infancy of the internet – around the second half of the 90s.

“I decided to put together a website for the education of the public,” Nagy says. “The articles are written in every simple language so that people can understand and see what electrochemistry does for society.”

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Problem with ASTM Method G5-13

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I am trying to trouble shoot a problem I am having with the ASTM method G5-13. It appears that my polarization plot has shifted about 40mV. As a result I am just outside of specs. Before you say reference electrode, that has been completely checked out.

Answer over on LinkedIn.

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Member Spotlight – Vilas Pol

Vilas Pol has assisting in discovering a nanoparticle network that could bright fast-charging batteries. He joined the Society in 2012.Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

Vilas Pol has assisted in the discovery of a nanoparticle network that could bring fast-charging batteries. He joined the Society in 2012.
Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

The Electrochemical Society’s Vilas Pol, along with a team of Purdue University researchers, has developed a nanoparticle network that could produce very fast-charging batteries.

This new electrode design for lithium-ion batteries has been shown to potentially reduce the charging time from hours to minutes, all by replacing the conventional graphite electrode with a network of tin-oxide nanoparticles.

This from Purdue University:

The researchers have performed experiments with a “porous interconnected” tin-oxide based anode, which has nearly twice the theoretical charging capacity of graphite. The researchers demonstrated that the experimental anode can be charged in 30 minutes and still have a capacity of 430 milliamp hours per gram (mAh g−1), which is greater than the theoretical maximum capacity for graphite when charged slowly over 10 hours.

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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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The Art of Dried Whiskey and Microscopy

The image to your right may look like a fine art print of an ocean scene at night, but it’s actually just a close-up of some dried Glenlivet 162, or for those of you who aren’t avid alcohol connoisseurs – it’s simply a photo of whiskey.

Maybe “simple” is not the best word to describe the chemical process that takes place, but the discovery that whiskey can make these beautiful images had a humble beginning.

Professional artist and photographer Ernie Button started creating photos of the patterns formed after letting a drop or two of whiskey dry at the bottom of a glass, which resulted in these clear and rhythmic images.

Though he loved the aesthetic value, Button wanted to understand why the images looked the way they looked.

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Clothes That Monitor, Transmit Biomedical Info

The smart fabric developed is durable, malleable, and can be woven with cotton or wool.Credit: Université Laval/Stepan Gorgusta

The smart fabric developed is durable, malleable, and can be woven with cotton or wool.
Credit: Université Laval/Stepan Gorgusta

We’ve hear about smartphones and “smart cars,” and even such recent developments as the smart highway – but what about a smart textile?

Researchers from Université Laval’s Faculty of Science and Engineering and Centre for Optics, Photonics and Lasers are well on their way to developing clothes that can monitor and transmit biomedical information on wearers.

By using sensor technology and wireless networks, this smart textile will be able to track and transmit this medical information – which has the potential to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from chronic disease, firemen and police offers, and people who are elderly.

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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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