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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 4, 2016

Neural connections mapped with unprecedented detail

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Nice.


A team of neuroscientists at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, in Lisbon, has been able to map single neural connections over long distances in the brain. “These are the first measurements of neural inputs between local circuits and faraway sites”, says Leopoldo Petreanu, who led the research. In doing so, Petreanu and co-authors Nicolás Morgenstern and Jacques Bourg have also discovered that the wiring of the brain is more complex than previously thought. Their results have been published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

“We want to understand the structure of the brain, but the wiring diagram we have of the brain is still very rough”, says Petreanu. “Except at the local level, we don’t know how individual axons [the fibers projected by neurons] connect.”

Thanks to a novel technique involving neural stimulation with laser light developed at their lab, the scientists were able to track the activity of individual axons, in the mouse brain, between a brain structure called the thalamus and the part of the visual cortex which receives, by way of the thalamus, the visual stimuli from the retinas.

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Jul 4, 2016

Injectable biomaterial could be used to manipulate organ behavior

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

Way cool.


Ideally, injectable or implantable medical devices should not only be small and electrically functional, they should be soft, like the body tissues with which they interact. Scientists from two UChicago labs set out to see if they could design a material with all three of those properties.

The material they came up with, published online June 27, 2016, in Nature Materials, forms the basis of an ingenious light-activated injectable device that could eventually be used to stimulate nerve cells and manipulate the behavior of muscles and organs.

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Jul 4, 2016

DARPA Develops Virtual Eye That Captures a Real Time Virtual Reality View Using Two Cameras

Posted by in categories: computing, drones, virtual reality

DARPA Vector Logo.eps

During a disaster situation, first responders benefit from one thing above anything else: accurate information about the environment that they are about to enter. Having foreknowledge of specific building layouts, the locations of impassable obstacles, fires or chemical spills can often be the only thing between life or death for anyone trapped inside. Currently first responders need to rely on their own experience and observations, or possibly a drone sent in ahead of them sending back an unreliable 2D video feed. Unfortunately neither option is optimal, and sadly many victims in a disaster situation will likely perish before they are discovered or the area is deemed safe enough to be entered.

But a team at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has developed technology that can offer first responders the option of exploring a disaster area without putting themselves in any risk. Virtual Eye is a software system that can capture and transmit video feed and convert it into a real time 3D virtual reality experience. It is made possible by combining cutting-edge 3D imaging software, powerful mobile graphics processing units (GPUs) and the video feed from two cameras, any two cameras. This allows first responders — soldiers, firefighters or anyone really — the option of walking through a real environment like a room, bunker or any enclosed area virtually without needing to physically enter.

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Jul 4, 2016

Quantum physics and consciousness

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, quantum physics

According to this theory, nothing really happens in physical world. Physical world is just a manifestation of the our consciousness. It seems that ancient Indian yogis have always known this. They have always believed in supreme consciousness which runs cosmos.

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Jul 4, 2016

OncoSENS Control ALT Delete Cancer

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Happy 4th of July! Time for our own independence day from cancer!


High-throughput screening of a library of diverse drugs to find treatments for ‘ALT’ cancers, those which rely on Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres.

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Jul 4, 2016

Nobel Prize Winners Ask Greenpeace To Stop Hating On GMOs

Posted by in category: health

107 Nobel Prize winners urged Greenpeace to embrace the health benefits of GMOs.

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Jul 4, 2016

Travel the Solar System Aboard a Train That Never Stops

Posted by in categories: space, transportation

Caption: The Solar Express is a conceptual space train that would ferry humans, supplies, and minerals between celestial bodies and space stations. Boris Schwarzer.

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Jul 4, 2016

SpaceX will use Falcon Heavy for 2018 Mars Mission, then at least two Falcon Heavies in 2020 and then a Mars Colonial Transporter in 2022

Posted by in categories: futurism, space travel

From Next Big Future: http://nextbigfuture.com/2016/06/spacex-will-use-falcon-heavy-for-2018.html

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Jul 4, 2016

Voyagers | Santiago Menghini

Posted by in categories: space, space travel

“Travel along with the Voyager spacecrafts as they traverse the solar system on their planetary expedition spanning over three decades.

A film by — Santiago Menghini”