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Jul 4, 2016

Discovery could dramatically boost efficiency of perovskite solar cells

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability

Scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have discovered a possible secret to dramatically boosting the efficiency of perovskite solar cells hidden in the nanoscale peaks and valleys of the crystalline material.

Solar cells made from compounds that have the crystal structure of the mineral perovskite have captured scientists’ imaginations. They’re inexpensive and easy to fabricate, like organic solar cells. Even more intriguing, the efficiency at which perovskite solar cells convert photons to electricity has increased more rapidly than any other material to date, starting at three percent in 2009 — when researchers first began exploring the material’s photovoltaic capabilities — to 22 percent today. This is in the ballpark of the efficiency of silicon solar cells.

Now, as reported online July 4, 2016 in the journal Nature Energy, a team of scientists from the Molecular Foundry and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, both at Berkeley Lab, found a surprising characteristic of a perovskite solar cell that could be exploited for even higher efficiencies, possibly up to 31 percent.

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Jul 2, 2016

Solar nano-grids light up homes and businesses in Kenya

Posted by in categories: business, computing, economics, habitats, nanotechnology

First installations go live as INTASAVE Energy pursues $30M impact investment.

Villagers in Lemolo B and Echareria in Nakuru County, Kenya, are waking up today to a new future as new solar nano-grids installed over the last two weeks allows them to switch on lights and operate new agri-processing machinery. The two communities are the first to receive a revolutionary new model for clean, affordable and reliable energy where a central solar hub provides both commercial energy for new village enterprises and household energy using cutting-edge up-cycled laptop batteries. The hub allows energy to be shared between households, businesses and the community bringing economic, social and environmental benefits.

The installation is the start of a major INTASAVE Energy solar nano-grid initiative (SONG) that ultimately aims to bring the benefits now beginning for villagers in Lemolo B and Echareria to over 450,000 people across the globe. INTASAVE Energy has launched a $30M impact investment programme to make this goal a reality.

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Jul 2, 2016

New material switches from water-repelling to water-loving with electric current

Posted by in categories: materials, nanotechnology

Definitely makes sense when you consider how things work in nature.


Generally, water repellent objects and those that attract or absorb water have very different microscopic-level attributes that endow them with their behavior. For example, the myriad tiny hairs on a gecko’s body help it to efficiently repel water, whilst specially treated cotton designed for harvesting water from the air contains millions of tiny pores that draw in liquid. Now researchers have discovered a way to use a single type of material to perform both functions, switching between liquid attraction and liquid repulsion, simply through the application of an electric voltage.

Developed by a team of scientists from TU Wien, the University of Zurich, and KU Levin, the new material alters its water-handling behavior by changing its surface structure at the nanoscale to effect a change at the macroscale. Specifically, the behavior of liquid on the new material is as a result of altering the “stiction” (static friction) of the molecular surface. One with a high-level of stiction keeps moisture clinging to it, whilst one with a low-level allows the liquid to run right off.

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Jun 30, 2016

Rising Applications of Quantum Dots in Healthcare Industry to Drive Global Quantum Dots Market

Posted by in categories: health, nanotechnology, quantum physics, security, solar power, sustainability

Q-Dot demand in Healthcare is predicted to be high.

http://embedded-computing.com/news/rising-quantum-dots-market/#


Quantum Dots Market is driven by increasing demand for energy efficient displays and lighting solutions, North America accounted for largest quantum dots market share, use of quantum dots in solar cells and VLSI design is expected to open new possibilities for quantum dots market.

Quantum dots are semiconducting nanoparticles that range from 1nm to 10nm diameter in size and demonstrate quantum mechanical properties. The peculiarity of quantum dots is that they have ability to unite their semiconductor properties with those of nanomaterials. In addition, tunable nanocrystal size and superior optical properties have made quantum dots attractive semiconducting material for variety of applications in the field of healthcare, optoelectronics, solar energy, and security among others.

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Jun 25, 2016

NASA Wants to Launch Interstellar Space Missions in 20 Years

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, quantum physics, robotics/AI, space, time travel

The craving to explore beyond our solar system grows sturdier every day. This proves true for the understanding of wormholes and time travel as well. In order to satisfy our thirst for the unknown, NASA will research unknown physics revolutionizing exploration of space. We first have to advance our understanding of space-time, the quantum vacuum, gravity and other physical phenomena. This info will help NASA send robots on interstellar space missions. Precisely 15 areas will be studied comprising human exploration, landing systems, nanotechnology and robots.

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Jun 25, 2016

Brain-like computers may now be realistic

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

Power consumption is one of the biggest reasons why you haven’t seen a brain-like computer beyond the lab: the artificial synapses you’d need tend to draw much more power than the real thing. Thankfully, realistic energy use is no longer an unattainable dream. Researchers have built nanowire synapses that consume just 1.23 femtojoules of power — for reference, a real neuron uses 10 femtojoules. They achieve that extremely low demand by using a wrap of two organic materials to release and trap ions, much like real nerve fibers.

There’s a lot of work to be done before this is practical. The scientists want to shrink their nanowires down from 200 nanometers thick to a few dozen, and they’d need new 3D printing techniques to create structures that more closely imitate real brains. Nonetheless, the concept of computers with brain-level complexity is that much more realistic — the team tells Scientific American that it could see applications in everything from smarter robots and self-driving cars through to advanced medical diagnosis.

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Jun 22, 2016

Viewpoint: Hiding a Quantum Cache in Diamonds

Posted by in categories: computing, internet, nanotechnology, quantum physics

Entanglement purification, a vital enabler for practical quantum networks, has been shown to be feasible with secluded nuclear memories in diamond.

Quantum devices can team up to perform a task collectively, but only if they share that most “spooky” of all quantum phenomena: entanglement. Remote devices have been successfully entangled in order to investigate entanglement itself [1], but the entanglement’s quality is too low for practical applications. The solution, known as entanglement purification [2], has seemed daunting to implement in a real device. Now new research [3] shows that even quite simple quantum components—nanostructures in diamond—have the potential to store and upgrade entanglement. The result relies on hiding information in almost-inaccessible nuclear memories, and may be a key step toward the era of practical quantum networks.

The concept of an interlinked network is absolutely fundamental to conventional technologies. It applies not only to distributed systems like the internet, but also to individual devices like laptops, which contain a hierarchy of interlinked components. For quantum technologies to fulfill their potential, we will want them to have the flexibility and scalability that come from embracing the network paradigm.

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Jun 20, 2016

Researchers create organic nanowire synaptic transistors that emulate the working principles of biological synapses

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, quantum physics

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with the Pohang University of Science and Technology in Korea has created organic nanowire synaptic transistors that emulate the working principles of biological synapses. As they describe in their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the artificial synapses they have created use much smaller amounts of power than other devices developed thus far and rival that of their biological counterparts.

Scientists are taking multiple paths towards building next generation computers—some are fixated on finding a material to replace silicon, others are working towards building a quantum machine, while still others are busy trying to build something much more like the human mind. A hybrid system of sorts that has organic artificial parts meant to mimic those found in the brain. In this new effort, the team in Korea has reached a new milestone in creating an artificial synapse—one that has very nearly the same power requirements as those inside our skulls.

Up till now, artificial synapses have consumed far more power than human synapses, which researchers have calculated is on the order of 10 femtojoules each time a single one fires. The new synapse created by the team requires just 1.23 femtojoules per event—far lower than anything achieved thus far, and on par with their natural rival. Though it might seem the artificial creations are using less power, they do not perform the same functions just yet, so natural biology is still ahead. Plus there is the issue of transferring information from one neuron to another. The “wires” used by the human body are still much thinner than the metal kind still being used by scientists—still, researchers are gaining.

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Jun 18, 2016

Google’s quantum computer inches nearer after landmark performance breakthrough

Posted by in categories: computing, government, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum physics, space

Over 20 years ago, I was interviewed by a group that asked me about the future of technology. I told them due to advancements such as nanotechnology that technology will definitely go beyond laptops, networks, servers, etc.; that we would see even the threads/ fibers in our clothing be digitized. I was then given a look by the interviewers that I must have walked of the planet Mars. However, I was proven correct. And, in the recent 10 years, again I informed others how and where Quantum would change our lives forever. Again, same looks and comments.

And, lately folks have been coming out with articles that they have spoken with or interviewed QC experts. And, they in many cases added their own commentary and cherry picked people comments to discredit the efforts of Google, D-Wave, UNSW, MIT, etc. which is very misleading and negatively impacts QC efforts. When I come across such articles, I often share where and why the authors have misinformed their readers as well as negatively impacted efforts and set folks up for failure who should be trying to plan for QC in their longer term future state strategy so that they can plan for budgets, people can be brought up to date in their understanding of QC because once QC goes live on a larger scale, companies and governments will not have time to catch up because once hackers (foreign government hackers, etc.) have this technology and you’re not QC enabled then you are exposed, and your customers are exposed. The QC revolution will be costly and digital transformation in general across a large company takes years to complete so best to plan and prepare early this time for QC because it is not the same as implementing a new cloud, or ERP, or a new data center, or rationalizing a silo enterprise environment.

The recent misguided view is that we’re 30 or 50 years away from a scalable quantum chip; and that is definitely incorrect. UNSW has proven scalable QC is achievable and Google has been working on making a scalable QC chip. And, lately RMIT researchers have shared with us how they have proven method to be able to trace particles in the deepest layers of entanglement which means that we now can build QC without the need of analog technology and take full advantage of quantum properties in QC which has not been the case.

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Jun 16, 2016

Biological nano-drones can vaccinate against cancer

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

When cancer hits, your immune system shuts down. Over the past 5–10 years, research into cancer has therefore increasingly focused on helping the immune system start up again. Because if we succeed in that, there is much to indicate that this approach will prove significantly more effective than the aggressive, all encompassing chemotherapy treatments we currently use.

One of the initiatives in this area is the work of Professor Thomas Andresen from DTU Nanotech. He has recently been awarded a grant from Innovation Fund Denmark for a project in which biological nano-drones are used to train the immune system to recognize cancer cells; and kill them.

This is something it cannot do on its own, because cancer cells are adept at concealing themselves. It is true that when chemotherapy or radiotherapy is used to kill cancer cells today, the immune system steps in afterwards to clear away the dead cells, but it doesn’t learn anything from the process. This is what Thomas Andresen is looking to change.

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