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Solar Cell

— Environment

"Nanoscale sandwich" technique could mean thinner, cheaper solar cells

By - June 25, 2012 2 Pictures
We certainly hear a lot about solar cells that are able to convert larger and larger percentages of the sun’s energy into electricity. That’s all very well and good, but if those more-efficient solar cells are too expensive, they will still ultimately prove impractical for everyday use. Researchers from North Carolina State University, however, have found a way of creating “ultra-thin” solar cells that should create just as much electricity as their thicker siblings, but at a lower cost. Read More

Special solar cells produce electricity from underwater sunlight

Although solar cells are proving indispensable for powering things such as electronic sensors on dry land, sensors located underwater have typically had to rely on batteries, or electricity piped in from photovoltaic panels situated above the surface. That could be changing, however, as scientists from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have recently developed functioning underwater solar cells. Read More
— Children

Son-X gives kids audio encouragement to get into the swing of things

By - May 29, 2012 5 Pictures
It's hard to believe how many classic children's toys are getting modern makeovers these days - from the Etch A Sketch to toy helicopters to footballs - and now it looks like even the playground swing set is getting a slight upgrade with the Son-X Octavia. When attached to any swing, the Son-X will play different sound bites depending on how high or long a child swings, encouraging them to go higher. Read More
— Environment

Stable dye-sensitized solar cell may provide cheaper alternative to silicon

By - May 25, 2012 1 Picture
Solar power is up there as the quintessential clean energy and there’s a race worldwide to develop better solar cells to overcome current challenges related to cell efficiency, manufacturing costs, durability and materials, among other things. One of the latest developments in the sector comes from Northwestern University where researchers have developed a stable dye-sensitized solar cell that may one day prove cheaper than silicon-based cells. Read More
— Environment

Doping leads to new efficiency record for graphene solar cells

By - May 25, 2012 1 Picture
Doping graphene with trifluoromethanesulfonyl-amide (TFSA) has enabled researchers at the University of Florida (UF) to set a new efficiency record for graphene solar cells. While the record-breaking efficiency of 8.6 percent is well short of the efficiencies seen in other types of solar cells, it is a big improvement over previous graphene solar cells that saw efficiencies ranging up to 2.9 percent. The development provides hope for cheaper, durable graphene solar cells in the future. Read More
— Science

"Decorated" nanowires could lead to better batteries and solar cells

By - May 1, 2012 3 Pictures
Higher-density batteries, more efficient thin-film solar cells, and better catalysts may all soon be possible, thanks to a new technique that allows nanowires to be “decorated” with nanoparticles. Using the novel technology, scientists from Stanford University have been able to festoon the outside surfaces of nanowires with intricate chains of metal oxide or noble metal nanoparticles, thereby drastically boosting the effective surface area of the nanowires. Other researchers have previously tried to achieve the same end result, but apparently never with such success. Read More
— Environment

Cheap, stable, printable liquid solar cells developed

By - April 26, 2012 2 Pictures
Scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have developed technology to cheaply produce stable liquid solar cells that can be painted or printed onto clear surfaces. The technology relies on solar nanocrystals that are around four nanometers in size - meaning you could fit more than 250 billion on the head of a pin. Their size allows them to be suspended in a liquid solution so they could be printed like a newspaper. The downside, commercialization of this technology is still years away. Read More
— Environment

Dow Solar rolls out Solar Shingles in California and Texas

By - April 25, 2012 5 Pictures
Installing photovoltaic panels is certainly the most common method of generating solar power on a rooftop, and in fact many people might think it’s the only method. There is, however, an alternative – photovoltaic shingles. It makes sense, when you think about it ... why install weatherproof shingles and solar panels separately, if you could get one thing that combined both? Although there aren’t many manufacturers offering such products just yet, this month Dow Solar made its POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles available to consumers in northern California and central Texas. Read More
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