From the Lab: Nanotechnology

Nanowire Solar Cells
Building photovoltaics out of nanowires

Results: In a step toward cheaper and more efficient solar cells, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have made solar cells out of billions of nanowires, each wire about 60 nanometers in diameter and 20 micrometers in length. The nanowires, made of zinc oxide and coated in a light-absorbing dye, conducted electrons from one end of the cell to the other about 100 times more efficiently than other nanoparticle-based solar cells currently under development. The solar cells’ overall light-conversion efficiency, however, was a relatively poor 1.5 percent.”

Making Microcapsules
Tiny chemical carriers form themselves

Results: Chemical engineers have developed a simple “mix and shake” technique for producing microcapsules–tiny shells that can hold substances such as drugs and medical imaging dyes. The technique, developed by a team at Rice University led by Michael Wong, resulted in microcapsules measuring less than a micrometer across.”

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