A researcher at Georgia Tech holds a perovskite-based solar cell. Credit: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech

Perovskite-based solar cells are all around great. They offer energy efficiencies similar to those of traditional silicon-based cells, are lightweight, simple and cheap to produce, and offer physical flexibility that could unlock a wide new range of installation methods and places, according to Georgia Teach Research Horizons.

The only problem: figuring out how to produce perovskite-based energy devices that last longer than a couple of months.

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology, University of California San Diego, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology may be closer to solving that problem. (more…)

Vitamin C Helps Gold Nanowires Grow

Gold nanowires grown in the Rice University lab. Credit: Zubarev Research Group/Rice University

Vitamin C offers countless benefits. It helps protect against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, can strengthen hair, and helps prevent wrinkles. Not to mention, it can also turn stubby gold nanorods into gold nanowires of impressive length.

According to ScienceDaily, scientists at Rice University recently discovered that all it takes is a dose of vitamin C to promote gold nanowires growth, making the wires valuable for sensing, diagnostic, imaging, and therapeutic applications.

According to Eugene Zubarev, a Rice lab chemist who worked on the study, and Bishnu Khanal, a Rice chemistry alumnus and lead author of the study, nanorods measured 25 nanometers thick at the start of the process, maintaining their widths as they grew in height. An important point, as the wires’ aspect ratio—length over width—dictates how well they absorb and emit light and how they conduct electrons. (more…)

Lead engineers, Xiaobo Yin and Ronggui Yang.
Image credit: Glenn Asakawa/CU-Boulder

According to Forbes, engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder have created a new material that works like an air conditioning system for structures—cooling rooftops with zero energy consumption.

The material, about the same thickness as aluminum foil, is rolled across the surface of a rooftop, reflecting incoming solar energy back into space while simultaneously purging its own heat. Adding to its appeal, the material is adaptable and cost-effective for use in large-scale residential and commercial applications, as it can be manufactured on rolls. (more…)

New fabric developed by UMD scientists.
Credit: Faye Levine, University of Maryland

When the temperature drops, we layer up. It’s the natural thing to do—until now. According to ScienceDaily, researchers at the University of Maryland have engineered a new fabric that can automatically change its properties to trap or release heat depending on external conditions.

The textile, made from synthetic yarn with a carbon nanotube coating, is activated by temperature and humidity: making it the first of its kind. When conditions are warm and moist, such as those near a sweating body, the fabric allows heat to pass through. When conditions become cooler and drier, the fabric reduces the heat that escapes. Acting like blinds, the individual strands of yarn open and close to transmit or block heat.

(more…)

On a Friday afternoon in 2011, residents of northeastern Japan were hit by a six minute earthquake—shifting the country’s main island by eight feet— triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached up to 120 feet in height, according to Futurity.

Tsunami warnings had initially broadcasted minutes before its arrival; unfortunately, underestimating its size. Many failed to evacuate to higher ground as a result; a total of 15,894 deaths resulted from the natural disaster. Japan has since installed a network of seismic and pressure sensors on the ocean floor that have raised the bar for tsunami early-warning systems worldwide.

New research, which appears in Geophysical Research Letters, suggests how warnings could be more accurate by combining data streaming in real-time from sensors, like those in Japan, with tsunami simulations.

(more…)

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Schematic representation of the movement of the flower-like particle as it makes its way through a cellular trap to deliver therapeutic genes. Credit: WSU

According to ScienceDaily, researchers have developed a new method to deliver drugs and therapies into cells at the nanoscale level.

What makes this new approach particularly promising is that it does not lead to toxic side effects, unlike other similar efforts attempted by researchers. The problem frequently faced was in the delivery of the therapeutic genes into cells, the nanomaterials only showing low delivery efficiency of medicine and possible toxicity. (more…)

Honda’s Battery Breakthrough

The search for the next level, new, and improved electric vehicle battery is an ongoing one. And it’s one Honda may have found. According to The Drive, the Japanese automaker claims to have developed a new battery chemistry called fluoride-ion that could outperform current lithium-ion batteries.

Honda says fluoride-ion batteries offer 10 times greater energy density, meaning more storage and range for electric vehicles, thanks to the low atomic weight of fluorine that makes fluoride-ion batteries’ increased performance possible. (more…)

Credit: ACS Publications

Most of us don’t stop to think about it, but the skin on our body is pretty remarkable. The largest organ in the body can detect pressure, temperature changes, pain, and touch, all made possible thanks to the many nerves and receptors underneath our skin. With all that said, it’s easy to understand why it’s hard to duplicate this unique organ. But, according to ScienceDaily, researchers are working to do just that. Their goal is to reproduce and transfer these qualities into a manmade electronic skin technology that can be used in prosthetic devices, wearable health monitors, robotics, and virtual reality. (more…)

3D‑printed Glucose Biosensors

Arda Gozen, assistant professor, WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. Photo Credit: WSU

Living with any disease isn’t easy. In particular, when it comes to living with diabetes, it involves an imposed routine of finger pricking and monitoring of glucose levels in order to simply maintain a healthy lifestyle. So you can imagine, any technology that can ease the sting is welcomed. Researchers at Washington State University have developed a 3D‑printed glucose biosensor for use in wearable monitors that may forever change how millions monitor their glucose levels.

According to Futurism, the research team—led by Arda Gozen and Yuehe Lin—have developed 3D-printed sensors that could stick to a person’s skin and monitor glucose via bodily fluids, like sweat. The 3D-printed glucose monitor offers much better stability and sensitivity than those manufactured through traditional methods, according to Washington State University. In addition, compared to traditional manufacturing processes, these 3D-printed sensors also cut down costs and reduce waste like expensive cleanroom processing and harmful chemicals. (more…)

Dog Inspired Biosensor Technology

Dogs are special. There’s no doubt about that.

In fact, they’re so unique that scientists are looking to use what we’ve learned from our furry companions to create new biosensor technology. See, dog’s noses aren’t only good for sniffing other dog’s tails at the park; they offer information. (more…)

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