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Updated: 28 min 19 sec ago

Fine-tuned molecular orientation is key to more efficient polymer solar cells

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 11:03am
Polymer solar cells are a hot area of research due to both their strong future potential and the significant challenges they pose. It is believed that thanks to lower production costs, they could become a viable alternative to conventional solar cells with silicon substrates when they achieve a power conversion efficiency--a measure that indicates how much electricity they can generate from a given amount of sunlight--of between 10 and 15 percent. Now, using carefully designed materials and an "inverted" architecture, a team of scientists has achieved efficiency of 10 percent, bringing these cells close to the threshold of commercial viability. 

American energy use up slightly, carbon emissions almost unchanged

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 11:28am
Americans' energy use continued to grow slowly in 2014, fueled by increases in the use of natural gas, wind and solar, according to the most recent energy flow charts.

Nanobionics supercharge photosynthesis

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 7:33am
A new process has been developed for spontaneously incorporating and assembling carbon nanotubes and oxygen-scavenging nanoparticles into chloroplasts, the part of plant cells that conduct photosynthesis. Incorporation enhanced electron flow associated with photosynthesis. When these nanocomposites were incorporated into leaf chloroplasts of living plants, the electron flow associated with photosynthesis was enhanced by 30%.

Efficiency record for black silicon solar cells jumps to 22.1%

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 11:14am
Researchers have obtained the record-breaking efficiency of 22.1 percent efficiency on nanostructured silicon solar cells. An almost 4 percent absolute increase to their previous record was achieved by applying a thin passivating film on the nanostructures and by integrating all metal contacts on the back side of the cell.