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ENERGY NEWS
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Magnetic Mirror Reflects Light in New Ways
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Oct. 16, 2014 — A new magnetic mirror uses non-metallic metamaterial properties to reflect IR light. Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories developed the magnetic mirror by placing nanoscale antennas at or very near the mirror’s surface, thereby allowing the researchers to harness IR radiation. At optical frequencies, the magnetic properties required for strong interaction can be achieved only by using artificially tailored materials, the researchers wrote in the study. They...

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Carbon Nanotube-Based Lights More Efficient than LEDs
SENDAI, Japan, Oct. 15, 2014 — A new carbon nanotube-based light source touts power consumption that is about a hundred times lower than that of an LED. A team from Tohoku University developed the new light source, which uses around 0.1 W for every hour of operation....
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Solar Cell Stores Energy, Too
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 7, 2014 — Solar cells could soon double as rechargeable batteries, greatly enhancing their power and efficiency. Developed by a team at The Ohio State University, a new hybrid device combines a battery with a solar cell. The researchers said the new...

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Nanopillars Enhance Solar Efficiency
AMHERST, Mass., Oct. 3, 2014 — Mimicking the highly efficient light-harvesting structures of blades of grass could boost power-conversion efficiency in solar panels. “For decades, scientists and engineers have placed great effort in trying to control the morphology...
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Thermophotovoltaic System Exhibits Better Absorption
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 1, 2014 — A 2-D photonic crystal could prove key in advancing the absorption and use of solar energy. The new material, developed by researchers at MIT, is a metallic-dielectric crystal that absorbs sunlight from a wide range of angles and can...

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Ultrathin Films Color Rough, Flexible Surfaces
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 2, 2014 — Researchers can now “paint” rough, flexible surfaces through the phenomenon of thin-film interference. A team at Harvard University demonstrated that ultrathin optical coatings can display strong optical interference effects on...
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Gold Nanoclusters Enhance Solar Power
LONDON, Ontario, Canada, Sept. 30, 2014 — Gold nanoclusters could improve solar cell performance by more than 10 percent. A nanocluster made of just 144 gold atoms was used as a building block in the creation of a flexible network of plasmonic antennas that attracted extra light to...

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Plessey Expands with In-House LED Assembly Line
PLYMOUTH, England, Sept. 29, 2014 — Plessey is expanding its facility here to include a new LED assembly line. This addition will allow the company to focus on its high-brightness LEDs for solid-state lighting and sensing. The expansion will cut production time and enable...
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Inorganic Semiconductors Guide New Optoelectronic Devices
SEOUL, South Korea, Sept. 22, 2014 — Inorganic compound semiconductors could potentially replace those developed with organic materials. A research team from Seoul National University (SNU) has grown gallium nitride (GaN) microrods on graphene substrates, which may ultimately...

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New Polymer Mix Crafts More Efficient Solar Cells
CHICAGO and LEMONT, Ill., Sept. 22, 2014 — An enhanced polymer-based device could boost solar power generation and improve the efficiency of solar cells. The new device, developed by a team from the University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering in collaboration...
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Tunable MoS2 Light Emitters Make Better Chips
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 23, 2014 — MoS2-based light emitters have the potential to help create powerful, yet energy efficient optoelectronic chips. A team at MIT has developed a new theoretical framework for building optoelectronic chips using MoS2 (molybdenum disulfide) as...

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‘Electrode Barrier’ Broken for Organic Solar Cells
AMHERST, Mass., Sept. 19, 2014 — A new organic solar cell has broken the “electrode barrier” known to hamper efforts to enhance efficiency. A team from the University of Massachusetts Amherst developed the cell, which can use virtually any metal as the...
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Nuclear Spins Boost Electric Current in OLEDs
SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 19, 2014 — A spintronic approach has been used to power plastic organic LEDs at room temperature and without strong magnetic fields. “We have shown we can use room-temperature, plastic electronic devices that allow us to see the orientation of...

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Video: Battery Lead Gains New Life in Solar Panels
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 8, 2014 — Dead auto batteries may be able to keep on truckin’ as long-lasting solar panels. Researchers at MIT are developing a system based on organolead halide perovskite, a technology that uses lead from raw ores in solar cell manufacturing....
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Carbon Nanotubes Get Better as Solar Cells
EVANSTON, Ill., Sept. 4, 2014 — A new type of carbon nanotube has taken a “big jump” beyond its predecessors in solar cell applications. Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT), developed by a team from Northwestern University’s McCormick School of...

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Polymers Bring Future Solar Cells
LEIOA, Spain, Sept. 4, 2014 — A polymer-based technique could lead to production of highly efficient solar cells. A team from IK4-Ikerlan and the University of the Basque Country used polymers that absorb light at different wavelengths to produce solar cells with a...
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Forecast: Worldwide Solar Capacity to Reach 66 GW by 2019
BOSTON, Aug. 26, 2014 — The global solar power industry will grow to a capacity of 65.6 gigawatt-peak (GWp) by 2019, with China at the forefront, the market analysis firm Lux Research predicts. Worldwide solar power capacity stood at a 37.5 GWp in 2013, meaning...

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Hydrogen Produced Using Photosynthetic Blueprint
CANBERRA, Australia, Aug. 26, 2014 — Researchers have artificially replicated steps of photosynthesis to produce hydrogen as a zero-carbon replacement for petroleum products. A team from Australian National University modified the naturally occurring protein ferritin to...
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Semi-Artificial Photovoltaics Surpassing Photosynthesis
BOCHUM, Germany, Aug. 22, 2014 — Semi-artificial leaves could function as photovoltaic systems, and with unprecedented performance. In leaves, the membrane protein complex photosystem I (PS I) absorbs light, and its energy is utilized for converting carbon dioxide into...

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Imaging Shows Bubbles Could Make Energy-Efficient Nanoparticles
PRINCETON, N.J., Aug. 20, 2014 — High-speed cameras and UV-sensitive materials are helping advance understanding of bubbles — which could mean big things for nanoparticles. In fact, a system in which bubbles mix liquids is an energy-efficient route toward producing...
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Spectroscopy Tests for Best Organic Photovoltaics
TSUKUBA, Japan, Aug. 19, 2014 — Spectroscopy may provide a way to identify materials for organic photovoltaics based on their charge formation efficiency. In a recent study of organic solar cells, a team at the University of Tsukuba and the National Institute for...

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Atwater and Polman Receive the Julius Springer Prize
BERLIN, Aug. 8, 2014 — Harry Atwater and Albert Polman received the annual Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics; they were honored for their achievements in plasmonics and nanophotonics. Atwater and Polman have pioneered the use of metallic nanostructures...
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Highest Conversion Efficiency Reached
TEMPE, Ariz., Aug. 7, 2014 — First Solar Inc. announced it has set a record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic research cell conversion efficiency. The record has been documented in the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory "Best...

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Hybrid ‘Wonder Material’ Creates Efficient LEDs
CAMBRIDGE, England, OXFORD, England, and MUNICH, Aug. 7, 2014 — A new type of perovskite — touted as a “wonder material” — has been used to create a new type of LED that has the potential to create more efficient light sources than those that rely on conventional solar cells. A...
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California Engineers Awarded $1.7 Million Grant
RIVERSIDE, Calif., Aug. 6, 2014 — A research team of University of California, Riverside engineers was awarded a $1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation to characterize, analyze and synthesize ultrathin film materials. The project will focus on practical...






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