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Silicon

Artist's impression of an electron wave in a crystal of nuclear-spin-free silicon-28 atoms...

In what are claimed to be new world records, two teams working in parallel at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have each found solutions to problems facing the advancement of silicon quantum computers. The first involves processing quantum data with an accuracy above 99 percent, while the second is the ability to store coherent quantum information for more than thirty seconds. Both of these records represent milestones in the eventual realization of super-powerful quantum computers.  Read More

UC Riverside researchers have developed a lithium-ion battery with superior performance us...

Conventional lithium-ion batteries rely on anodes made of graphite, but it is widely believed that the performance of this material has reached its zenith, prompting researchers to look at possible replacements. Much of the focus has been on nanoscale silicon, but it remains difficult to produce in large quantities and usually degrades quickly. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have overcome these problems by developing a lithium-ion battery anode using sand.  Read More

The new technology could allow lithium-ion batteries to charge 16 times faster than presen...

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have developed a silicon anode that would allow us to charge lithium-ion batteries up to 16 times faster than is currently possible. The new design relies on a three-dimensional, cone-shaped cluster of carbon nanotubes that could also result in batteries that hold about 60 percent more charge while being 40 percent lighter.  Read More

An image captured using the new lens

Night-vision security cameras could be getting a lot less costly, thanks to the discovery that their lenses can be made from silicon. Ordinarily, thermal infrared camera lenses are made from materials such as germanium and chalcogenide, which are much more expensive.  Read More

Tinitell is a simple wrist-worn mobile phone designed to give children independence and gi...

Children need to be allowed to play outside from time to time, but some parents are often too concerned for the safety of their little ones to loosen the reins. Having kids wear a miniature mobile phone on their wrist so they can be contacted at any time may help ease those worries, which is where Tinitell could prove invaluable to nervous parents.  Read More

Panasonic is claiming a world-record conversion efficiency of 25.6 percent for its HIT sol...

Panasonic is reporting a 25.6 percent conversion efficiency for its HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin layer) solar cells. This is an improvement of 0.9 percentage points over the 24.7 percent conversion efficiency Panasonic achieved in February 2013, with the company claiming it as a world record for crystalline silicon-based solar cells of a "practical size."  Read More

The 'pomegranate' design reduces the surface area of the cluster to one tenth of the sum o...

Though the use of silicon in lithium-ion batteries promises a whole new world of energy storage, it also poses several problems to a battery's durability and overall performance. A new electrode design inspired by clusters of pomegranate seeds and developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) and Stanford University, overcomes some of these obstacles, bringing lighter and more powerful batteries closer to reality.  Read More

The spiky surface of black silicon shred certain types of bacteria, offering the potential...

Originally discovered by accident in the 1980s, black silicon is silicon with a surface that has been modified to feature nanoscale spike structures which give the material very low reflectivity. Researchers have now found that these spikes can also destroy a wide range of bacteria, potentially paving the way for a new generation of antibacterial surfaces.  Read More

This image shows two electrodes connected via an external voltage source splitting water i...

Photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells can use sunlight to sustainably split water into hydrogen and oxygen, but efficient PEC materials tend to corrode rapidly in use. A Stanford research group has been studying this problem, and has found that depositing a thin layer of nickel atoms on a silicon PEC electrode allows it to operate for over 80 hours with no sign of corrosion.  Read More

Research at UNSW increases the conversion efficiency of solar cells made using lower-cost,...

While we wait for affordable multi-junction solar cells that are pushing past the 40 percent conversion efficiency mark to make it out of the lab and onto our roofs, we have to make do with standard commercial silicon cells that currently max out at around 19 percent. A team from the University of New South Wales in Australia has found a way to improve the quality of low-grade silicon, enabling higher efficiency solar cells to be produced from cheaper, low-grade silicon.  Read More

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