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Thin Film

Cornell professor David Muller and grad student Pinshane Huang show a model of the atomic ...

In 2012, a one-molecule thick layer of silica glass was accidently made in the laboratory of Cornell professor David Muller, allowing the atoms in a glass to be seen individually for the first time. Now, Guinness World Records has identified this ultimately thin glass as a 2014 World Record.  Read More

Thin films of gallium arsenide appear to reduce energy loss in stacked solar cells

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new system for strengthening the connections between stacked solar cells which could improve the overall efficiency of concentrated photovoltaic technology and reduce the cost of solar energy production. The hardened connections could theoretically enable these cells to operate at concentrations of up to 70,000 suns while minimizing wasted energy.  Read More

Inspired by moths' eyes, scientists have created new technology that may help improve the ...

Because moths need to use every little bit of light available in order to see in the dark, their eyes are highly non-reflective. This quality has been copied in a film that can be applied to solar cells, which helps keep sunlight from being reflecting off of them before it can be utilized. Now, a new moth eye-inspired film may further help solar cells become more efficient.  Read More

The MorePhone prototype smartphone curls up to indicate an incoming call or message

Researchers at Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab have developed a prototype smartphone that uses shape-changing capabilities to let the user know of an incoming call, text or email. Built around a thin, flexible electrophoretic display manufactured by Plastic Logic, the MorePhone can curl its entire body to indicate a call, or curl up to three individual corners to indicate a particular message.  Read More

One of the decal-like solar panels, applied to a business card

Traditionally, thin-film solar cells are made with rigid glass substrates, limiting their potential applications. Flexible versions do exist, although they require special production techniques and/or materials. Now, however, scientists from Stanford University have created thin, flexible solar cells that are made from standard materials – and they can applied to just about any surface, like a sticker.  Read More

A newly developed bendable thin-film lithium-ion battery could help bridge the gap to high...

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a promising solid state, thin-film lithium-ion battery that claims the highest energy density ever achieved for a flexible battery. The new design, which showed for the first time that high-performance thin films can be used for flexible batteries, may be commercialized as early as next year.  Read More

Under UV light, the nanofibrous film detects trace 2,4-DNT explosive buried in a flower po...

Engineers at the University of Connecticut (UConn) have developed a fluorescent nanofibrous film capable of detecting ultra-trace levels of explosive vapors from landmines and other buried explosive devices. In the presence of explosive molecules, the film’s fluorescence is suppressed when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. In this way, the lightweight film, which is similar to paper, could be rolled out over suspect areas to mark the location of explosive devices.  Read More

New technology based on the eye of a moth improves the quality of X-ray images without com...

To increase stealth and evade predators, the moth has evolved a remarkable eye that, rather than reflecting light, absorbs it almost completely. Engineers have mimicked its nanostructure in the past to design better solar panel coatings and antireflective surfaces, and are now using the same principle to design a thin film that will absorb radiation from X-ray machines more effectively, exposing patients to a significantly lower risk while obtaining higher quality imaging.  Read More

By sandwiching a layer of ferric chloride molecules between two sheets of graphene (pictur...

Currently, virtually all touchscreen displays found in our electronic devices rely on a coating of indium tin oxide (ITO). It is used because of its electrical conductivity, its optical transparency, and the ease with which it can be deposited onto a display as a thin film. Using graphene, researchers at the University of Exeter have developed a viable alternative to increasingly expensive ITO that they claim is the “most transparent, lightweight and flexible material ever for conducting electricity.”  Read More

Scientists have set a new record for thin-film solar cell efficiency, using 'bumpy' silver...

Researchers from Australia's Swinburne University of Technology have announced the development of the world's most efficient broadband nanoplasmonic solar cells. The scientists improved the performance of existing thin-film cells by incorporating nucleated or "bumpy" gold and silver nanoparticles. By doing so, they were able to boost the cells' absolute efficiency up to 8.1 percent.  Read More

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