Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Thin Film

Honda Soltec announces smaller, more efficient thin film solar cell design

A few years back we reported on the establishment of Honda Soltec, a Honda subsidiary devoted to the development of thin-film solar technology. This week that same group announced that it would be releasing a new thin-film cell that will rank among the world's most efficient with an expected module conversion efficiency of more than 13%.  Read More

Scanning electron microscopy image and zoom of conjugated polymer (PPV) honeycomb

While rooftops are the obvious place to put solar cells to generate clean electricity for the home, we’ve seen a number of technologies aimed at expanding the potential solar collecting area to include windows using transparent solar cells. These include Octillion Corp’s NanoPower Window technology, RSi’s semi-transparent photovoltaic glass windows, and EnSol’s transparent thin film. In this latest development, U.S. scientists have fabricated a new type of self-assembling transparent thin film material that could boost the cost effectiveness and scalability of solar window production.  Read More

Schematic diagram of a thin film organic solar cell shows the top layer, a patterned, roug...

Research has already shown that at the nanoscale, chemistry is different and the same is apparently true for light, which Engineers at Stanford University say behaves differently at scales of around a nanometer. By creating solar cells thinner than the wavelengths of light the engineers say it is possible to trap the photons inside the solar cell for longer, increasing the chance they can get absorbed, thereby increasing the efficiency of the solar cell. In this way, they calculate that by properly configuring the thicknesses of several thin layers of films, an organic polymer thin film could absorb as much as 10 times more energy from sunlight than predicted by conventional theory.  Read More

The experimental setup used to measure the catalytic activity of the strontium-substituted...

Rechargeable batteries and fuel cells are seen as the two contenders to serve as a power source for the next generation of environmentally friendly vehicles. A significant barrier to achieving greater efficiency in the latter is the slow rate of oxygen production from the cathode, which limits the power output of the device. Now an unexpected find by MIT researchers regarding the behavior of incredibly thin sheets of material could lead to major improvements .  Read More

Sony's rollable OTFT-driven OLED display

The miniaturization of electronic components has seen mobile devices shrink to the point where screen size is a major limiting factor. That could be set to change with Sony announcing it has developed a super-flexible full color OLED display which can be repeatedly wrapped around a thin cylinder while still producing moving images. Could we soon see mobile phones with pencil form factors and roll out displays?  Read More

Research breakthrough promises night vision revolution

A team at University of Florida has developed a new thin film technology that can convert infrared light into visible light. In layman terms, we can stop eating carrots to improve our night vision because it might soon be applied cheaply to our eye glasses, car windshields, even our cell phones, and it could be here in a little as 18 months.  Read More

The new PV cell can generate electricity from ultraviolet and infrared light as well as vi...

Last month at the meeting of the Japan Society of Applied Physics, a research group from the Kyoto Institute of Technology introduced a new photovoltaic cell that is capable of generating electricity not only from visible light, but from ultraviolet and infrared light as well. The research group, led by associate professor Saki Sonoda, hopes that this will lead to a more efficient PV cell that can be single-junction rather than the more conventional multi-junction.  Read More

RFID tags printed through a new roll-to-roll process could replace bar codes and make chec...

Newly developed radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology could usher in the era of checkout line-free shopping. The inexpensive, printable transmitter can be invisibly embedded in packaging offering the possibility of customers walking a cartload of groceries or other goods past a scanner that would read all the items at once, total them up and charge the customer’s account while adjusting the store’s inventory. More advanced versions could even collect all the information about the contents of a store in an instant, letting a retailer know where every package is at any time.  Read More

Using the interactive game tiles

Board games aren’t necessarily bound to become obsolete - at least, not if researchers at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada have anything to say about it. They will change, however. Queen’s Human Media Lab (HML) recently unveiled a prototype board game that uses traditional flat cardboard tiles (i.e: cards), but the images on those tiles are projected onto them by an overlooking digital projector. The images stay on the tiles as they’re moved around by the players, courtesy of an overlooking camera that tracks their movements. This means that the tiles could display moving video, that their display could change entirely depending on what’s happening in the game, or that it could be customized by the players. Monopoly night may never be the same.  Read More

By using fewer layers and a simplified structure, TMOS displays are much more energy-effic...

Uni-Pixel, a company based in Woodlands, Texas, has announced it is about to start mass production of a thin-film to be used in time-multiplexed optical shutter (TMOS) displays, a next-generation display technology that exploits retinal persistence in the human eye and promises significantly better performance than CRT, LCD and OLED displays with, among other things, great durability and dramatically improved energy efficiency.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 29,566 articles