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Thin Film


— Mobile Technology

Shape-shifting MorePhone curls to indicate incoming calls

By - April 29, 2013 6 Pictures
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
— Science

Stanford University researchers create peel-and-stick solar cells

By - December 21, 2012 3 Pictures
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
— Electronics

Flexible lithium-ion battery technology is on the march

By - August 10, 2012 1 Picture
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
— Science

Nanofibrous film detects vapors from buried landmines and explosives

By - August 3, 2012 2 Pictures
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
— Science

Moth eye-inspired tech could lead to better, safer X-rays

By - July 5, 2012 4 Pictures
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
— Science

New "GraphExeter" material could enable “smart” mirrors, windows or t-shirts

By - April 29, 2012 1 Picture
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

Bumpy nanoparticles improve the efficiency of thin-film solar cells

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
— Electronics

Graphene-based transparent touchscreens and solar panels a step closer

By - August 1, 2011 4 Pictures
Graphene promises to revolutionize electronics but we’re still waiting for graphene-based technologies to hit the market. Rice University researchers have now created transparent, graphene-based electrodes that they say could be the “killer app” that finally puts graphene into the commercial spotlight. The graphene-based electrodes could be used to replace the increasingly expensive indium tin oxide (ITO) in touch-screen displays, photovoltaic solar cells and LED lighting. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Thin-film flexible 'Paperphone' created

By - May 5, 2011 3 Pictures
Researchers from the Human Media Lab at Canada's Queen's University have created a fully-functioning floppy E-Ink smartphone, which they also refer to as a paper computer. Like its thicker, rigid-bodied counterparts, the Paperphone can do things like making and receiving calls, storing e-books, and playing music. Unlike them, however, it conforms to the shape of its user's pocket or purse, and can even be operated through bending actions. Read More
— Science

New battery technology may allow for complete recharging within minutes

By - March 21, 2011 2 Pictures
Of all the criticisms of electric vehicles, probably the most commonly-heard is that their batteries take too long to recharge – after all, limited range wouldn’t be such a big deal if the cars could be juiced up while out and about, in just a few minutes. Well, while no one is promising anything, new batteries developed at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign do indeed look like they might be a step very much in the right direction. They are said to offer all the advantages of capacitors and batteries, in one unit. Read More
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