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Extra electrons harvested from a photon's quantum 'shadow state' could boost the efficienc...

Researchers at the University of Texas say it is possible to hike the energy yield of solar cells by exploiting what they call a photon's "shadow state", doubling the number of electrons that may be harvested in the process. They claim the discovery could up the theoretical maximum efficiency of silicon solar cells from 31 to 44 percent.  Read More

Finnish researchers have developed a method of fuel cell production, that uses 60 percent ...

While fuel cells show a lot of promise for cleanly powering things such as electric cars, there’s something keeping them from being more widely used than they currently are – they can be expensive. More specifically, the catalysts used to accelerate the chemical processes within them tend to be pricey. Work being done at Finland’s Aalto University, however, should help bring down the cost of fuel cells. Using atomic layer deposition (ALD), researchers there are making cells that incorporate 60 percent less catalyst material than would normally be required.  Read More

Sony's battery breaks down paper to create power (Photo: PhysOrg)

We've heard of gadgets being powered by some pretty crazy stuff, but how about paper? Sony recently showed off a new bio-cell battery that breaks down paper in order to create power. A paper battery sounds a little bit far-fetched, but the technology works, and could potentially change how we power devices in the future. So how does it work? The process starts with an enzyme suspended in water. When paper is dropped in, the enzyme starts to break it down and produce glucose that can then be harvested and used to power a battery. Sony described the break down process as similar to how a termite might eat and break down wood.  Read More

Artist's rendering of Kepler-20e (Image: NASA)

NASA has discovered the first earth-size planets outside of our solar system. The discovery was made as part of NASA's Kepler mission and involves the discovery of two planets currently named after the project: Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f. If the Kepler name sounds familiar, that's because NASA also recently announced the discovery of Kepler-22b, the most Earth-like planet discovered to date. Kepler 22b is orbiting a star similar to our sun, and is capable of possessing liquid water, an essential feature for life to exist on a planet.  Read More

IBM has released its Next 5 in 5 predictions for 2011

It’s late December, and that means that it’s time once again for IBM’s Next 5 in 5 list. Every year since 2006, the corporation has put together an annual roundup of the top five emerging technologies that its researchers feel “will change the way we work, live and play” within the next five years. Here’s a look at what caught their attention this year.  Read More

A recent study suggests that global climate may be far less sensitive to carbon dioxide fl...

According to a recent study funded by the National Science Foundation’s Paleoclimate Program, climate change may be far less sensitive to carbon dioxide fluctuations than previously predicted.  Read More

Bioluminescent bacteria fluorescing in sync within a biopixel

By making colonies of bacteria periodically fluoresce, a team of researchers at the University of California San Diego may have hit upon a significant breakthrough in the field of bioluminescence. Though the development has the potential to unplug the neon sign, it may also usher in a new generation of hazard-detecting biological sensors.  Read More

Pumped-up muscle tissue (in blue) in a high performing 'mighty mouse'

He can't fly just yet, but a team of scientists have made a big step towards creating a real-life Mighty Mouse. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, along with two Swiss institutions, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the University of Lausanne, created a batch of super-strong mice and worms by tweaking a gene that normally inhibits muscle growth.  Read More

The even distribution of different cell types seen in the intestinal tissues of young frui...

Caloric restriction has been shown to slow the signs of aging and delay the development of age-related diseases in a wide range of animals. However, scientists have been unable to explain just why limiting daily food intake has such a beneficial effect on health and the biological mechanisms that underlie the phenomenon. Researchers in Sweden recently claimed to have unlocked a piece of the puzzle by identifying one of the enzymes that appears to play a major role in the process and now another group in the U.S. has provided another clue by tweaking a gene in fruit flies and extending their lifespan by as much as 50 percent.  Read More

Researchers have developed a coating for fabric, that could be used to clean clothing simp...

For some time now, we’ve been hearing about the benefits of drying our laundry outside on the clothesline. We save money and energy by not running the dryer, the sunlight kills germs, and we don’t run the risk of generating harmful dryer emissions. In the future, however, we might also end up washing our clothes by hanging them outside – scientists in China have successfully used sunlight to remove orange dye stains from cotton fabric, that was treated with a special coating.  Read More

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