Tesla Honored As 2017’s ‘Battery Innovator Of The Year’ At The International Battery Seminar


tesla-honored-as-2017-s-battery-innovator-of-the-year-at-the-international-battery-seminarInternational experts in the field of battery research recognized Tesla’s contributions and cutting-edge innovations in battery technology. Tesla exec and battery expert says it’s all about implementation.  ( Tesla )

March 24, 2017

Tesla is always looking for ways to produce better energy storage not only to extend the range of its electric vehicles but also to power up homes using clean energy, and experts on battery technology have recognized the company’s efforts.

In a surprise addition to the 34th International Battery Seminar’s program, the organizers presented Kurt Kelty, Tesla’s senior director of Battery Technology with the “Battery Innovator of the Year” award, which he received on behalf of Tesla.

Tesla On Battery Technology

Kelty was scheduled to give the Plenary Keynote Address in front of 800 battery experts — including specialists from other EV manufacturers — at the International Battery Seminar, which was held from March 20 to 23 at Fort Lauderdale in Florida. However, before he was even able to utter his first sentence, the prestigious award was bestowed.

Kelty was quick to express his gratitude on behalf of Tesla and say how much of an honor the prize is for the company.

“Everyone recognizes we’re not a battery chemistry company. That’s not why we got the award. It’s more [about] the implementation of the technology,” Kelty said.

Tesla’s Battery Innovations

Tesla is not new to receiving awards when it comes to its battery technology. In 2016, Tesla’s top researcher on battery technology, Jeff Dahn, received the same award and the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering for his research on lithium-ion batteries. And with the company’s smart energy storage solutions in response to energy crises and dedication to producing Li-ion batteries in its Gigafactory in Nevada in 2016 and early 2017, it’s not really that much of a surprise that Elon Musk’s company was honored this time around.

Tesla Will Continue To Innovate Batteries

In his keynote address, Kelty revealed that the company receives battery usage data from its electric vehicle and stationary unit customers in real-time and the company has been learning a lot from the collected data.

He also added that Telsa envisions a well-integrated clean energy system for homes, especially when users combine the company’s products together.

“Where we see the future [is] in houses [and] we want to be your EV provider. Put your EV in your garage and you charge it up with one of our chargers, you have a powerwall … [and] a solar product [solar roof] that we’ll be introducing this summer […] This is the kind of future we see for [your] house,” he reveals.

Musk is probably thrilled with the award but there’s no reaction yet from Tesla’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer as of writing.

 

Powerful hybrid storage system combines advantages of lithium-ion batteries and Supercapacitors – “What Comes Next”


Bizzarrini-Veleno-future-Electric-Car-01

A battery that can be charged in seconds, has a large capacity and lasts ten to twelve years? Certainly, many have wanted such a thing. Now the FastStorageBW II project – which includes Fraunhofer – is working on making it a reality. Fraunhofer researchers are using pre-production to optimize large-scale production and ensure it follows the principles of Industrie 4.0 from the outset.

Imagine you’ve had a hectic day and then, to cap it all, you find that the battery of your electric vehicle is virtually empty. This means you’ll have to take a long break while it charges fully. It’s a completely different story with capacitors, which charge in seconds. However, they have a different drawback: they store very little energy.electric cars images

In the FastStorageBW II project, funded by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart, together with colleagues from the battery manufacturer VARTA AG and other partners, are developing a powerful hybrid storage system that combines the advantages of lithium-ion batteries and .

“The PowerCaps have a specific capacity as high as lead batteries, a long life of ten to twelve years, and charge in a matter of seconds like a supercapacitor,” explains Joachim Montnacher, Head of the Energy business unit at Fraunhofer IPA. What’s more, PowerCaps can operate at temperatures of up to 85 degree Celsius. They withstand a hundred times more charge cycles than conventional battery systems and retain their charge over several weeks without any significant losses due to self-discharge.

Elon+Musk+cVLpwWp3rxJmAlso Read About: Supercapacitor breakthrough suggests EVs could charge in seconds but with a trade-off

“Supercapacitors may be providing an alternative to electric-car batteries sooner than expected, according to a new research study. Currently, supercapacitors can charge and discharge rapidly over very large numbers of cycles, but their poor energy density per kilogram —- at just one twentieth of existing battery technology — means that they can’t compete with batteries in most applications. That’s about to change, say researchers from the University of Surrey and University of Bristol in conjunction with Augmented Optics.

Large-scale production with minimum risk

The Fraunhofer IPA researchers’ main concern is with manufacturing: to set up new battery production, it is essential to implement the relevant process knowledge in the best possible way.

After all, it costs millions of euros to build a complete manufacturing unit. “We make it possible for battery manufacturers to install an intermediate step – a small-scale production of sorts – between laboratory production and large-scale production,” says Montnacher. “This way, we can create ideal conditions for large-scale production, optimize processes and ensure production follows the principles of Industrie 4.0 from the outset. Because in the end, that will give companies a competitive advantage.” Another benefit is that this cuts the time it takes to ramp up production by more than 50 percent.

For this innovative small-scale production setup, researchers cleverly combine certain production sequences. However, not all systems are connected to each other – at least, as far as the hardware is concerned. More often, it is an employee that carries the batches from one machine to the next. Ultimately, it is about developing a comprehensive understanding of the process, not about producing the greatest number of in the shortest amount of time. For example, this means clarifying questions such as if the desired quality can be reproduced. The systems are designed as flexibly as possible so that they can be used for different production variations.

Making large-scale production compatible with Industrie 4.0

As far as software is concerned, the systems are thoroughly connected. Like process clusters, they are also equipped with numerous sensors, which show the clusters what data to capture for each of the process steps. They communicate with one another and store the results in a cloud. Researchers and entrepreneurs can then use this data to quickly analyze which factors influence the quality of the product – Does it have Industrie 4.0 capability? Were the right sensors selected? Do they deliver the desired data? Where are adjustments required?

Fraunhofer IPA is also applying its expertise beyond the area of production technology: The scientists are developing business models for the marketing of cells, they are analyzing resource availability, and they are optimizing the subsequent recycling of PowerCaps.

Explore further: Virtual twin controls production

Provided by: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Watch a YouTube Video in ‘Next Generation’ Energy-Dense Si-Nanowire Batteries

 

 

Quantum Dots ~ “On the Move” ~ Illuminating Applications for photovoltaic cells, computers and drug delivery


The quantum dots used by the researchers are particles of semi-conducting material just a few nanometres wide, and are the subject of great interest because of their potential for use in photovoltaic cells or computers.

“The great thing about these particles is that they absorb light and emit it in a different colour,” explains research leader Lukas Kapitein. “We use that characteristic to follow their movements through the cell with a microscope.”

But to do so, the quantum dots had to be inserted into the cell. Most current techniques result in dots that are inside microscopic vesicles surrounded by a membrane, but this prevents them from moving freely.

However, the researchers succeeded directly delivering the particles into cultured cells by applying a strong electromagnetic field that created transient openings in the cell membrane.

In their article (“Probing cytoskeletal modulation of passive and active intracellular dynamics using nanobody-functionalized quantum dots”), they describe how this electroporation process allowed them to insert the quantum dots inside the cell.

The various transport processes that can be Sstudied using quantum dots

The various transport processes that can be Sstudied using quantum dots. Cyan: rapid diffusion. Red: slow diffusion in an actin network. Green: active transport by motor proteins. (Image: Anna Vinokurova)

Extremely bright

Once inserted, the quantum dots begin to move under the influence of diffusion. Kapitein: “Since Einstein, we have known that the movement of visible particles can provide information about the characteristics of the solution in which they move.

“Previous research has shown that particles move fairly slowly inside the cell, which indicates that the cytoplasm is a viscous fluid. But because our particles are extremely bright, we could film them at high speed, and we observed that many particles also make much faster movements that had been invisible until now.

“We recorded the movements at 400 frames per minute, more than 10 times faster than normal video. At that measurement speed, we observed that some quantum dots do in fact move very slowly, but others can be very fast.”

Kapitein is especially interested in the spatial distribution between the slow and fast quantum dots: at the edges of the cell, the fluid seems to be very viscous, but deeper in the cell he observed much faster particles.

Kapitein: “We have shown that the slow movement occurs because the particles are caught in a dynamic network of protein tubules called actin filaments, which are more common near the cell membrane. So the particles have to move through the holes in that network.”

Motor proteins

In addition to studying this passive transport process, the researchers have developed a technique for actively moving the quantum dots by binding them to a variety of specific motor proteins. 
These motor proteins move along microtubuli, the other filaments in the cytoskeleton, and are responsible for transport within the cell.

This allowed them to study how this transport is influenced by the dense layout of the actin network near the cell membrane. They observed that this differs for different types of motor protein, because they move along different types of microtubuli.

Kapitein: “Active and passive transport are both very important for the functioning of the cell, so several different physics models have been proposed for transport within the cell. Our results show that such physical models must take the spatial variations in the cellular composition into consideration as well.”

Source: Utrecht University

Using Nanotechnology to Control the formation of ice on surfaces


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Control of ice growth kinetics. (A) Hexagonal ice composed by two basal facets (c-axis) and six prism facets (a-axis). (B) Random and aligned orientations of c-axes were found on trapezoid-shaped microgrooves (TMG) and V-shaped microgrooves (VMG) surfaces, respectively. (C) Ice embryos appear on the side walls, the edges, and the valleys of groove on TMG surfaces, resulting in different orientations of ice crystals. On the other hand, an ice embryo forms only at the valley of grooves on the VMG surface, leading to the confined ice orientation. Scale bars are 15 µm. (Reprinted with permission by American Chemical Society) (click on image to enlarge)

In recent years, researchers working on de-icing and anti-icing strategies have been inspired by biology and nanotechnology to develop nanocoatings and other nanostructured surfaces.

Researchers now have demonstrated the ability to spatially control frost nucleation (ice formation from water vapor) and to manipulate ice crystal growth kinetics.”The spatial control of icing in the condensation-freezing process and through the coating of hydrophilic materials has been demonstrated before,” Ming-Chang Lu, Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at National Chiao Tung University said, “However, the ice nucleation control and the confinement of ice crystal growth direction through manipulating roughness scale have not been reported in the literature.”

In previous work, Lu and his team demonstrated that heterogeneous nucleation of condensation could be spatially controlled by manipulating roughness scale (Advanced Functional Materials, “Spatial Control of Heterogeneous Nucleation on the Superhydrophobic Nanowire Array”).

 

ricedeicerga-052416Read more About Nanotechnology and Deicing

Rice University: Graphene Nano-Ribbons Demonstrate Deicing Capabilities: Dr. James Tour

 

 

 

 

This motivated them to further explore whether the same control could be achieved in the icing process.Indeed, as they recently have reported in ACS Nano (“Control of Ice Formation”), they found that a surface’s anti-icing (preventing ice formation) and deicing performances could be promoted through the control of nucleation and the confinement of the ice crystal growth direction.The scientists achieved control of nucleation and the confinement of the crystal growth kinetics by manipulating local free energy barrier for nucleation.Moreover, the growth kinetics of ice can also be altered by adjusting the shape of the microgroove of the surface: Ice stacked along the direction of the V-shaped microgroove, whereas it grew in random directions on the trapezoid-shaped microgroove.As the researchers demonstrate in their paper, the spatial control of frost formation and the confinement of ice-growing kinetics improved the anti-icing and deicing performances.”We have shown that ice formation and ice crystal growth could be manipulated by tailoring surface roughness scale,” notes Lu.

 

“We believe that our results could be potentially applied to alleviate the icing issues in many industrial systems, such as, power transmission system, telecommunication system, heat exchangers, aircraft, etc.”In this work, the team systematically investigated – under an environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) – frosting and deicing processes on a plain silicon surface, a silicon nanowire (SiNW) array-coated surface, and V-shaped and trapezoid-shaped microgroove patterned surfaces.Nucleation is the first step of the phase transition during freezing. The team’s goal is to gain complete control of the ice formation process including nucleation, crystal growth, and ice spreading.”The results we demonstrated were on a Si surface and on a laboratory chip; in my opinion, the future directions are to explore whether the phenomena could be realized on other materials and on a larger system,” concludes Lu. “The ultimate goal is to have fully controls of icing and deicing processes. Therefore, it could be applied to alleviate the adverse effect caused by global warming, e.g., the loss of ice sheets.”

Original Post by Micheal Berger

Drug combination delivered by nanoparticles may help in melanoma treatment


Melenoma 170314140859_1_540x360Gavin Robertson, professor of pharmacology, pathology, dermatology, and surgery; director of the Penn State Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center and member of Penn State Cancer Institute, works with associates in the Melanoma Center.
Credit: Penn State College of Medicine

Summary: The first of a new class of medication that delivers a combination of drugs by nanoparticle may keep melanoma from becoming resistant to treatment, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

CelePlum-777 combines a special ratio of the drugs Celecoxib, an anti-inflammatory, and Plumbagin, a toxin. By combining the drugs, the cells have difficulty overcoming the effect of having more than one active ingredient.

Celecoxib and Plumbagin work together to kill melanoma cells when used in a specific ratio. Researchers used microscopic particles called nanoparticles to deliver the drugs directly to the cancer cells. These particles are several hundred times smaller than the width of a hair and can be loaded with medications.

“Loading multiple drugs into nanoparticles is one innovative approach to deliver multiple cancer drugs to a particular site where they need to act and have them released at that optimal cancer cell killing ratio,” said Raghavendra Gowda, assistant professor of pharmacology, who is the lead author on the study. “Another advantage is that by combining the drugs, lower concentrations of each that are more effective and less toxic can be used.”

Celecoxib and Plumbagin cannot be taken by mouth because the drugs do not enter the body well this way and cannot be used together in the ratio needed because of toxicity.

CelePlum-777 can be injected intravenously without toxicity. Because of its small size, it also accumulates inside the tumors where it then releases the drugs to kill the cancer cells. Researchers report their results in the journals Molecular Cancer Therapeutics and Cancer Letters.

“This drug is the first of a new class, loaded with multiple agents to more effectively kill melanoma cells, that has potential to reduce the possibility of resistance development,” said senior author Gavin Robertson, professor of pharmacology, pathology, dermatology, and surgery; director of the Penn State Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center and member of Penn State Cancer Institute. “There is no drug like it in the clinic today and it is likely that the next breakthrough in melanoma treatment will come from a drug like this one.”

The researchers showed the results of CelePlum-777 on killing cancer cells growing in culture dishes and in tumors growing in mice following intravenous injection. The drug prevented tumor development in mice with no detectable side effects and also prevented proteins from enabling uncontrolled cancer cell growth.

More research is required by the Food and Drug Administration before CelePlum-777 can be tested in humans through clinical trials. Penn State has patented this discovery and licensed it to Cipher Pharmaceuticals, which will perform the next series of FDA-required tests.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Penn State College of Medicine. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Gold foil discovery could lead to wearable technology – Flexibility is the Key


goldfoildiscAn example of a gold foil peeled from single crystal silicon. Credit: Reprinted with permission from Naveen Mahenderkar et al., Science [355]:[1203] (2017).

Some day, your smartphone might completely conform to your wrist, and when it does, it might be covered in pure gold, thanks to researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Writing in the March 17 issue of the journal Science, the Missouri S&T researchers say they have developed a way to “grow” thin layers of gold on single crystal wafers of silicon, remove the gold foils, and use them as substrates on which to grow other electronic materials.

wearable-textiles-100616-0414_powdes_ti_f1The research team’s discovery could revolutionize wearable or “flexible” technology research, greatly improving the versatility of such electronics in the future.

According to lead researcher Dr. Jay A. Switzer, the majority of research into wearable technology has been done using polymer substrates, or substrates made up of multiple crystals. “And then they put some typically organic semiconductor on there that ends up being flexible, but you lose the order that (silicon) has,” says Switzer, Donald L. Castleman/FCR Endowed Professor of Discovery in Chemistry at S&T.

Because the polymer substrates are made up of multiple crystals, they have what are called , says Switzer. These grain boundaries can greatly limit the performance of an electronic device.

“Say you’re making a solar cell or an LED,” he says. “In a semiconductor, you have electrons and you have holes, which are the opposite of electrons. They can combine at grain boundaries and give off heat. And then you end up losing the light that you get out of an LED, or the current or voltage that you might get out of a solar cell.”

Most electronics on the market are made of silicon because it’s “relatively cheap, but also highly ordered,” Switzer says.

“99.99 percent of electronics are made out of silicon, and there’s a reason – it works great,” he says. “It’s a single crystal, and the atoms are perfectly aligned. But, when you have a single crystal like that, typically, it’s not flexible.”

By starting with single crystal silicon and growing gold foils on it, Switzer is able to keep the high order of silicon on the foil. But because the foil is gold, it’s also highly durable and flexible.

“We bent it 4,000 times, and basically the resistance didn’t change,” he says.

The gold foils are also essentially transparent because they are so thin. According to Switzer, his team has peeled foils as thin as seven nanometers.

Switzer says the challenge his research team faced was not in growing gold on the single crystal silicon, but getting it to peel off as such a thin layer of foil. Gold typically bonds very well to silicon.

“So we came up with this trick where we could photo-electrochemically oxidize the silicon,” Switzer says. “And the gold just slides off.”

Photoelectrochemical oxidation is the process by which light enables a semiconductor material, in this case silicon, to promote a catalytic oxidation reaction.

Switzer says thousands of gold foils—or foils of any number of other metals—can be made from a single crystal wafer of .

The research team’s discovery can be considered a “happy accident.” Switzer says they were looking for a cheap way to make single crystals when they discovered this process.

“This is something that I think a lot of people who are interested in working with highly ordered materials like single crystals would appreciate making really easily,” he says. “Besides making flexible devices, it’s just going to open up a field for anybody who wants to work with .”

Explore further: ‘Nanospears’ could lead to better solar cells, lasers, lighting

More information: Naveen K. Mahenderkar et al. Epitaxial lift-off of electrodeposited single-crystal gold foils for flexible electronics, Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.aam5830

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-03-gold-foil-discovery-wearable-technology.html#jCp

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-03-gold-foil-discovery-wearable-technology.html#jCp

Third-Generation Solar Cells using Metalorganic Perovskites Challenges silicon based Solar Cells


nanotubefilmAn illustration of a perovskite solar cell. Credit: Photo by Aalto University / University of Uppsala / EPFL

Five years ago, the world started to talk about third-generation solar cells that challenged the traditional silicon cells with a cheaper and simpler manufacturing process that used less energy.

Methylammonium lead iodide is a metal-organic material in the perovskite crystal structure that captures light efficiently and conducts electricity well—both important qualities in . However, the lifetime of solar cells made of metalorganic perovskites has proven to be very short compared to cells made of .

Now researchers from Aalto University, Uppsala University and École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have managed to improve the long term stability of solar cells made of perovskite using “random network” nanotube films developed under the leadership of Professor Esko Kauppinen at Aalto University. Random network nanotube films are films composed of single-walled carbon nanotubes that in an electron microscope image look like spaghetti on a plate.

‘In a traditional perovskite solar cell, the hole conductor layer consists of organic material and, on top of it, a thin layer of gold that easily starts to disintegrate and diffuse through the whole solar cell structure. We replaced the gold and also part of the organic material with films made of carbon nanotubes and achieved good cell stability in 60 degrees and full one sun illumination conditions‘, explains Kerttu Aitola, who defended her doctoral dissertation at Aalto University and now works as a researcher at Uppsala University

In the study, thick black films with conductivity as high as possible were used in the back contact of the solar cell where light does not need to get through. According to Aitola, nanotube films can also be made transparent and thin, which would make it possible to use them as the front contact of the cell, in other words as the contact that lets light through.

‘The solar cells were prepared in Uppsala and the long-term stability measurement was carried out at EPFL. The leader of the solar cell group at EPFL is Professor Michael Grätzel, who was awarded the Millennium Prize 2010 for dye-sensitised solar cells, on which the are also partly based on’, says Aitola.

Nanotube film may resolve longevity problem of challenger solar cells
Cross-section of the solar cell in an electron microscope image. The fluff seen in the front of the image is composed of bundles of nanotubes that have become half-loose when the samples have been prepared for imaging. Credit: Photo by Aalto University / University of Uppsala / EPFL

 

The lifetime of solar cells made of silicon is 20-30 years and their industrial production is very efficient. Still, alternatives are needed as reducing the silicon dioxide in sand to silicon consumes a huge amount of energy. It is estimated that a needs two or three years to produce the energy that was used to manufacture it, whereas a perovskite solar cell would only need two or three months to do it.

‘In addition, the silicon used in solar cells must be extremely pure’, says Aitola.

‘Perovskite solar cell is also interesting because its efficiency, in other words how efficiently it converts sunlight energy into electrical energy, has very quickly reached the level of silicon solar cells. That is why so much research is conducted on perovskite solar cells globally.’

The alternative solar cells are even more interesting because of their various application areas. Flexible solar cells have until now been manufactured on conductive plastic. Compared with the conductive layer of plastic, the flexibility of nanotube films is superior and the raw materials are cheaper. Thanks to their flexibility, solar cells could be produced using the roll-to-roll processing method known from the paper industry.

‘Light and would be easy to integrate in buildings and you could also hang them in windows by yourself’, says Aitola.

Explore further: New way to make low-cost solar cell technology

More information: Kerttu Aitola et al, High Temperature-Stable Perovskite Solar Cell Based on Low-Cost Carbon Nanotube Hole Contact, Advanced Materials (2017). DOI: 10.1002/adma.201606398

Discover Your Unique Ability … from Strategic Coach ~ The ‘Multiplier Mindset’


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At Strategic Coach, discussing activities that energize and fuel us is the norm. As team members, we’re encouraged to unearth our Unique Ability and our best strategies toward teamwork. This type of work environment allows us to feel more connected to one another—in addition to allowing for extraordinary teamwork. This is why we strongly advocate…

via 5 Reasons To Discover Your Unique Ability® Together — The Multiplier Mindset: Insights & Tips for Entrepreneurs

New “Quasiparticles ” Research Allows Data to be Recorded … with LIGHT!



Russian physicists with their colleagues from Europe through changing the light parameters, learned to generate quasiparticles – excitons, which were fully controllable and also helped to record information at room temperature. 

These particles act as a transitional form between photons and electrons so the researchers believe that with excitons, they will be able to create compact optoelectronic devices for rapid recording and processing an optical signal. The proposed method is based on use of a special class of materials called metal-organic frameworks. The study appeared in Advanced Materials. 

To simplify the description of complex effects in quantum mechanics, scientists have introduced a concept of quasiparticles. One of them which is called exciton is an “electron – hole” pair, which provides energy transfer between photons and electrons. 

According to the scientific community, this mediation of quasiparticles will help to combine optics with electronics to create a fundamentally new class of equipment – more compact and energy efficient. However, all exciton demo devices either operate only at low temperature, or are difficult to manufacture which inhibits their mass adoption.

 

In the new study, the scientists from ITMO University in Saint Petersburg, Leipzig University in Germany and Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands could generate excitons at room temperature by changing the light parameters. 
The authors also managed to control the quasiparticles with ultra-high sensitivity of about hundreds of femtoseconds (10-13 s). Finally, they developed an easy method for data recording with excitons. This all became possible through the use of an individual class of materials called metal-organic frameworks.

 

Metal-organic frameworks (MOF) synthesized at ITMO University, have a layered structure. Between the layers, there is a physical attraction called van der Waals force. To prevent the plates from uncontrollably coming together, the interlayer space is filled with an organic liquid, which fixes the framework to be three-dimensional.

 

In such crystals, the researchers learned to bring two types of excitons individually: intralayer and interlayer. The first arise when a photon absorbed by the crystal turns into an electron-hole pair inside a layer, but the second appear when an electron and a hole belong to neighboring layers. In some time, both kinds of quasiparticles disintegrate, re-radiating the energy as a photon. But excitons can move around the crystal while they exist.

 

The life time of intralayer excitons is relatively short, but their high density and agility allow one to use these quasiparticles to generate light in LEDs and lasers, for instance. Interlayer excitons are more stable, but slow-moving, so the researchers propose them to be used for the data recording. Both types of excitons fit processing of an optical signal, according to the physicists.

 

The innovative approach for information recording concerns the changing a distance between crystal layers to switch “on” and “off” the interlayer excitons. 
Valentin Milichko, the first author of the paper, associate professor of Department of Nanophotonics and Metamaterials at ITMO University, comments: “We locally heated the crystal with a laser. In the place of exposure, the layers stuck together and the luminescence of excitons disappeared while the rest of the crystal continued shining. This could mean that we recorded 1 bit of information, and the record, in the form of a dark spot, was kept for many days. 

To delete the data, it was enough to put the MOF into the same organic liquid that supports layers. In this case, the crystal itself is not affected, but the recorded information (the dark spot) disappears.”

 

The authors believe that in the future the new material will help to bring processing of an optical signal to the usual pattern of zeros and ones: “In fact, we can influence the exciton behavior in the crystal, changing the light intensity. At weak irradiation, excitons are accumulated (in ‘1’ state), but if the laser power increases, the concentration of quasiparticles grows so much that they can instantly disintegrate (in ‘0’ state),” says Valentin Milichko.

 

Typically, excitons occur in dielectric and semiconductor crystals, but the scientists could create these quasiparticles and get control over them in a completely different class of materials, which never was used for this. 
The MOF crystal combines organic components with inorganic that gives it additional properties not available for materials of a single nature. Thus, the organic term allows one to generate excitons at room temperature, but inorganic provides their efficient transfer around the crystal.

 

Valentin A. Milichko, Sergey V. Makarov, Alexey V. Yulin, Alexander V. Vinogradov, Andrei A. Krasilin, Elena Ushakova, Vladimir P. Dzyuba, Evamarie Hey-Hawkins, Evgeny A. Pidko, Pavel A. Belov (2017), Van der Waals metal-organic framework as an excitonic material for advanced photonics, Advanced Materials

*** From Nanotechnology World 

“An Energy Miracle” ~ Making Solar Fuel to Power Our Energy Needs


Bill Gates Fuel from Solar AAEAAQAAAAAAAArDAAAAJDNlZDZlNmMzLTZkYjMtNDNlYy1iMTliLTIyMzY2ZDg5MjcwOQ

*** Bill Gates: Original Post From gatesnotes.com  

The sun was out in full force the fall morning I arrived at Caltech to visit Professor Nate Lewis’s research laboratory. Temperatures in southern California had soared to 20 degrees above normal, prompting the National Weather Service to issue warnings for extreme fire danger and heat-related illnesses.

The weather was a fitting introduction to what I had come to see inside Nate’s lab—how we might be able to tap the sun’s tremendous energy to make fuels to power cars, trucks, ships, and airplanes.

Stepping into the lab cluttered with computer screens, jars of chemicals, beakers, and other equipment, Nate handed me a pair of safety goggles and offered some advice for what I was about to see. “Everything we do is simple in the end, even though there’s lots of complicated stuff,” he said.

What’s simple is the idea behind all of his team’s research: The sun is the most reliable, plentiful source of renewable energy we have. In fact, more energy from the sun hits the Earth in one hour than humans use in an entire year. If we can find cheap and efficient ways to tap just a fraction of its power, we will go a long way toward finding a clean, affordable, and reliable energy source for the future.

We are all familiar with solar panels, which convert sunlight into electricity. As solar panel costs continue to fall, it’s been encouraging to see how they are becoming a growing source of clean energy around the world. Of course, there’s one major challenge of solar power. The sun sets each night and there are cloudy days. That’s why we need to find efficient ways to store the energy from sunlight so it’s available on demand. 

Batteries are one solution. Even better would be a solar fuel. Fuels have a much higher energy density than batteries, making it far easier to use for storage and transportation. For example, one ton of gasoline stores the same amount of energy as 60 tons of batteries. That’s why, barring a major breakthrough in battery technology, it’s hard to imagine flying from Seattle to Tokyo on a plug-in airplane. Solar Twist download

I’ve written before about the need for an energy miracle to halt climate change and provide access to electricity to millions of the poorest families who live without it. Making solar fuel would be one of those miracles. It would solve the energy storage problem for when the sun isn’t shining. And it would provide an easy-to-use power source for our existing transportation infrastructure. We could continue to drive the cars we have now. Instead of running on fossil fuels from the ground, they would be powered by fuel made from sunlight. And because it wouldn’t contribute additional greenhouses gases to the atmosphere, it would be carbon neutral. 

Imagining such a future is tantalizing. Realizing it will require a lot of hard work. No one knows if there’s a practical way to turn sunlight into fuel. Thanks to the U.S. Department of Energy, Nate and a group of other researchers around the U.S. are receiving research support to find out if it is possible.

We live in a time when new discoveries and innovations are so commonplace that it’s easy to take the cutting-edge research I saw at Caltech for granted. But most breakthroughs that improve our lives—from new health interventions to new clean energy ideas—get their start as government-sponsored research like Nate’s. If successful, that research leads to new innovations, that spawn new industries, that create new jobs, that spur economic growth. It’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of government support in this process. Without it, human progress would not come as far as it has.

tenka-growing-plants-082616-picture1Nate and his team are still at the first stage of this process. But they have reason to be optimistic about what lies ahead. After all, turning sunlight into chemical energy is what plants do every day. Through the process of photosynthesis, plants combine sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to store solar energy in chemical bonds. At Nate’s lab, his team is working with the same ingredients. The difference is that they need to figure out how to do it even better and beat nature at its own game.

“We want to create a solar fuel inspired by what nature does, in the same way that man built aircraft inspired by birds that fly,” Nate said. “But you don’t build an airplane out of feathers. And we’re not going to build an artificial photosynthetic system out of chlorophylls and living systems, because we can do better than that.”

One of Nate’s students showed me how light can be used to split water into oxygen and hydrogen—a critical first step in the path to solar fuels. The next step would involve combining hydrogen with carbon dioxide to make fuels. Using current technologies, however, it is too costly to produce a fuel from sunlight. To make it cheaper, much more research needs to be done to understand the materials and systems that could create a dependable source of solar fuel.hydrogen-earth-150x150

One idea his team is working on is a kind of artificial turf made of plastic cells that could be easily rolled out to capture sunlight to make fuel. Each plastic cell would contain water, light absorbers, and a catalyst. The catalyst helps accelerate the chemical reactions so each cell can produce hydrogen or carbon-based fuels more efficiently. Unfortunately, the best catalysts are among the rarest and most expensive elements, like platinum. A key focus of Nate’s research is finding other catalysts that are not only effective and durable, but also economical.

Nate’s interest in clean energy research started during the oil crisis in the 1970s, when he waited for hours in gas lines with his dad. He says he knew then that he wanted to dedicate his life to energy research. Now, he is helping to train a new generation of scientists to help solve our world’s energy challenge. Seeing the number of young people working in Nate’s lab was inspiring. The pace of innovation for them is now much faster than ever before. “We do experiments now in a day that would once take a year or an entire Ph.D. thesis to do,” Nate said.

Still, I believe we should be doing a lot more. We need thousands of scientists following all paths that might lead us to a clean energy future. That’s why a group of investors and I recently launched Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a fund that will invest more than $1 billion in scientific discoveries that have the potential to deliver cheap and reliable clean energy to the world.

While we won’t be filling up our cars with solar fuels next week or next year, Nate’s team has already made valuable contributions to our understanding of how we might achieve this bold goal. With increased government and private sector support, we will make it possible for them to move ahead with their research at full speed.

This originally appeared on gatesnotes.com.