Archive for the ‘nanotechnology’ category

Sep 16, 2015

New Solar Panels That Work At Night

Posted by in categories: materials, nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability

Nighttime solar panels, night solar panels, night photovoltaics, Solar cells, solar power at night, idaho national laboratory, solar technology, solar film, nanotechnology solar, nanoantennas, New Solar Panels Can Harvest Energy After Dark

Despite the enormous untapped potential of solar energy, one thing is for sure- photovoltaics are only as good as the sun’s rays shining upon them. However, researchers at the Idaho National Laboratory are close to the production of a super-thin solar film that would be cost-effective, imprinted on flexible materials, and would be able to harvest solar energy even after sunset!

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Sep 15, 2015

Nanoscale Solar Cells Outperform Traditional Technology

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, materials, nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability

Scientists have designed a novel type of nanoscale solar cell. Initial studies and computer modelling predict these cells will outperform traditional solar panels, reach power conversion levels by over 40 percent.

Solar power cells work through the conversion of sunlight into electricity using photovoltaics. Here solar energy is converted into direct current. A photovoltaic system uses several solar panels; with each panel composed of a number of solar cells. This combines to create a system for the supply usable solar power.

To investigate what is possible in terms of solar power, the researchers have examined the Shockley-Queisser limit for different materials. This equation describes the maximum solar energy conversion efficiency achievable for a particular material, allowing different materials to be compared as candidates for power generation.

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Sep 14, 2015

Getting DNA Into Cells Is Tough, But This Nanoinjector Is Here To Help

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Click on photo to start video.

One of gene therapy’s major challenges is getting a gene sequence into a cell without damaging it. Traditional methods are often inefficient and unreliable, but this nano-device from Brigham Young University may offer a solution.

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Sep 12, 2015

Humans Will Have Cloud-Connected Hybrid Brains

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, engineering, nanotechnology, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI

So, you think you’ve seen it all? You haven’t seen anything yet. By the year 2030, advancements will excel anything we’ve seen before concerning human intelligence. In fact, predictions offer glimpses of something truly amazing – the development of a human hybrid, a mind that thinks in artificial intelligence.

Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, spoke openly about this idea at the Exponential Finance Conference in New York. He predicts that humans will have hybrid brains able to connect to the cloud, just as with computers. In this cloud, there will be thousands of computers which will update human intelligence. The larger the cloud, the more complicated the thinking. This will all be connected using DNA strands called Nanobots. Sounds like a Sci-Fi movie, doesn’t it?

Kurzweil says:

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Sep 12, 2015

How curly nanowires can absorb more light to power nanoscale electronic circuits

Posted by in categories: electronics, energy, materials, nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability

This illustration shows a prototype device comprising bare nanospring photodetectors placed on a glass substrate, with metal contacts to collect charges (credit: Tural Khudiyev and Mehmet Bayindir/Applied Optics)

Researchers from Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, have shown that twisting straight nanowires into springs can increase the amount of light the wires absorb by up to 23 percent. Absorbing more light is important because one application of nanowires is turning light into electricity, for example, to power tiny sensors instead of requiring batteries.

If nanowires are made from a semiconductor like silicon, light striking the wire will dislodge electrons from the crystal lattice, leaving positively charged “holes” behind. Both the electrons and the holes move through the material to generate electricity. The more light the wire absorbs; the more electricity it generates. (A device that converts light into electricity can function as either a solar cell or a photosensor.)

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Sep 8, 2015

Lipid DNA origami may lead to advanced future nanomachines

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials, nanotechnology

Using a double layer of lipids facilitates assembly of DNA origami nanostructures, bringing us one step closer to future DNA nanomachines, as in this artist’s impression (credit: Kyoto University’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences)

Kyoto University scientists in Japan have developed a method for creating larger 2-D self-assembling DNA origami nanostructures.

Current DNA origami methods can create extremely small two- and three-dimensional shapes that could be used as construction material to build nanodevices, such as nanomotors, in the future for targeted drug delivery inside the body, for example. KurzweilAI recently covered advanced methods developed by Brookhaven National Laboratory and Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute.

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Sep 8, 2015

Nanotubes open new path toward quantum information technologies

Posted by in categories: computing, materials, nanotechnology, quantum physics, security

“Beyond implementation of quantum communication technologies, nanotube-based single photon sources could enable transformative quantum technologies including ultra-sensitive absorption measurements, sub-diffraction imaging, and linear quantum computing. The material has potential for photonic, plasmonic, optoelectronic, and quantum information science applications…”

In optical communication, critical information ranging from a credit card number to national security data is transmitted in streams of laser pulses. However, the information transmitted in this manner can be stolen by splitting out a few photons (the quantum of light) of the laser pulse. This type of eavesdropping could be prevented by encoding bits of information on quantum mechanical states (e.g. polarization state) of single photons. The ability to generate single photons on demand holds the key to realization of such a communication scheme.

By demonstrating that incorporation of pristine into a silicon dioxide (SiO2) matrix could lead to creation of solitary oxygen dopant state capable of fluctuation-free, room-temperature single , Los Alamos researchers revealed a new path toward on-demand single photon generation. Nature Nanotechnology published their findings.

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Sep 3, 2015

Delivering Drugs And Removing Toxins With 3-D Printed Micro-Robots

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

Nanotechnology and 3-D printing are two fields that have huge potential in general, but manipulating this technology and using it in biology also has tremendous and exciting prospects. In a promising prototype, scientists have created micro-robots shaped like fish which are thinner than a human hair, and can be used to remove toxins, sense environments or deliver drugs to specific tissue.

These tiny fish were formed using a high resolution 3-D printing technology directed with UV light, and are essentially aquatic themed sensing, delivery packages. Platinum particles that react with hydrogen peroxide push the fish forward, and iron oxide at the head of the fish can be steered by magnets; both enabling control of where they ‘swim’ off to. And there you have it — a simple, tiny machine that can be customised for various medical tasks.

In a test of concept, researchers attached polydiacetylene (PDA) nanoparticles to the body, which binds with certain toxins and fluoresces in the red spectrum. When these fish entered an environment containing these toxins, they did indeed fluoresce and neutralised the compounds.

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Aug 10, 2015

DARPA Deploys Programmable Nanoscale Switches for Next-Generation Electronics

Posted by in categories: computing, electronics, nanotechnology, neuroscience

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) website reports that two of DARPA’s Young Faculty Award (YFA) recipients have developed nanoscale electronic switches with reprogrammable features, similar to those at play in inter-neuron communication in the brain, which could find uses in next-generation reconfigurable electronic devices and brain-inspired computing.

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Aug 4, 2015

A high-performance single-molecule diode

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology

Researchers from Berkeley Lab and Columbia University have created the world’s highest-performance single-molecule diode, using a combination of gold electrodes (yellow) and a “TDO” molecule (purple, with molecular structure on the left) in propylene carbonate, an ionic solution (light blue). The circuit symbols on the right represent a battery and an ammeter (A) to measure current flow. (credit: Brian Capozzi et al./Nature Nanotechnology)

A team of researchers from Berkeley Lab and Columbia University has created “the world’s highest-performance single-molecule diode,” using a combination of gold electrodes and an ionic solution.

The diode’s rectification ratio (ratio of forward to reverse current at fixed voltage) is in excess of 200, “a record for single-molecule devices,” says Jeff Neaton, Director of the Molecular Foundry, a senior faculty scientist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and the Department of Physics at the University of California Berkeley and a member of the Kavli Energy Nanoscience Institute at Berkeley (Kavli ENSI).

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