Archive for the ‘solar power’ category: Page 7

Oct 10, 2023

“Hubbard Excitons” — Caltech Physics Discovery Could Lead to Incredible New Technologies

Posted by in categories: computing, physics, solar power, space, sustainability

Caltech researchers have discovered Hubbard excitons, which are excitons bound magnetically, offering new avenues for exciton-based technological applications.

In art, the negative space in a painting can be just as important as the painting itself. Something similar is true in insulating materials, where the empty spaces left behind by missing electrons play a crucial role in determining the material’s properties. When a negatively charged electron is excited by light, it leaves behind a positive hole. Because the hole and the electron are oppositely charged, they are attracted to each other and form a bond. The resulting pair, which is short-lived, is known as an exciton [pronounced exit-tawn].

Excitons are integral to many technologies, such as solar panels, photodetectors, and sensors. They are also a key part of light-emitting diodes found in televisions and digital display screens. In most cases, the exciton pairs are bound by electrical, or electrostatic, forces, also known as Coulomb interactions.

Oct 9, 2023

MIT researchers have created a solar-powered desalination device that can make seawater drinkable for less than the cost of US tap water

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Researchers at MIT have created a device that may soon be able to turn seawater into drinking water for entire households using nothing but solar energy.

And, to top it off, the water produced by this device could eventually cost less than US tap water, according to a paper published last week in the peer-reviewed journal Joule.

Yang Zhong, a graduate student at MIT and an author of the September 27 paper, said this desalination device is more efficient, longer-lasting, and cheaper than previous desalination devices.

Oct 5, 2023

Quantum Dots Explained (2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry)

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, quantum physics, solar power

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three scientists who discovered and developed quantum dots, which are very small particles that can change color depending on their size. Quantum dots are tiny particles of a special kind of material called a semiconductor. They are so small that they behave differently from normal materials. They can absorb and emit light of different colors depending on their size and shape.

You can think of quantum dots as artificial atoms that can be made in a lab! They have some of the same properties as atoms, such as having discrete energy levels (meaning they can only exist in certain distinct energy states, and they cannot have energy values between these specific levels) and being able to form molecules with other quantum dots. But they also have some unique features that make them useful for many applications, such as displays, solar cells, sensors, and medicine, which I shall discuss later in this story!

To grasp the workings of quantum dots, a bit of quantum mechanics knowledge comes in handy. Quantum mechanics teaches us that these tiny entities can possess only specific amounts of energy, and they transition between these energy levels by absorbing or emitting light. The energy of this light is determined by the difference in energy levels. In typical materials like metals or plastics, energy levels are closely packed, forming continuous bands where electrons can move freely, resulting in less specific light absorption or emission. However, in semiconductors like silicon or cadmium selenide, there’s a gap between these bands known as the “band gap.” Electrons can only jump from one band to another by interacting with light having an energy level that precisely matches the band gap, making semiconductors valuable for creating devices like transistors and LEDs.

Oct 5, 2023

Breaking the Born-Oppenheimer Approximation — Experiments Unveil Long-Theorized Quantum Phenomenon

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, solar power, sustainability

Nearly a century ago, physicists Max Born and J. Robert Oppenheimer developed a hypothesis about the functioning of quantum mechanics within molecules. These molecules consist of complex systems of nuclei and electrons. The Born-Oppenheimer approximation postulates that the movements of nuclei and electrons within a molecule occur independently and can treated separately.

This model works the vast majority of the time, but scientists are testing its limits. Recently, a team of scientists demonstrated the breakdown of this assumption on very fast time scales, revealing a close relationship between the dynamics of nuclei and electrons. The discovery could influence the design of molecules useful for solar energy conversion, energy production, quantum information science, and more.

The team, including scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern University, North Carolina State University, and the University of Washington, recently published their discovery in two related papers in Nature and Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Oct 4, 2023

MilliMobile is a tiny, self-driving robot powered only by light and radio waves

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, solar power, sustainability, transportation

Small mobile robots carrying sensors could perform tasks like catching gas leaks or tracking warehouse inventory. But moving robots demands a lot of energy, and batteries, the typical power source, limit lifetime and raise environmental concerns. Researchers have explored various alternatives: affixing sensors to insects, keeping charging mats nearby, or powering the robots with lasers. Each has drawbacks: Insects roam, chargers limit range, and lasers can burn people’s eyes.

Researchers at the University of Washington have now created MilliMobile, a tiny, self-driving robot powered only by surrounding light or radio waves. Equipped with a solar panel-like energy harvester and four wheels, MilliMobile is about the size of a penny, weighs as much as a raisin and can move about the length of a bus (30 feet, or 10 meters) in an hour even on a cloudy day. The robot can drive on surfaces such as concrete or packed soil and carry three times its own weight in equipment like a camera or sensors. It uses a to move automatically toward light sources so it can run indefinitely on harvested power.

The team will present its research Oct. 2 at the ACM MobiCom 2023 conference in Madrid, Spain.

Oct 4, 2023

Google Maps can now tell exactly where solar panels should be installed

Posted by in categories: government, health, mapping, robotics/AI, satellites, solar power, sustainability

Google Maps can now calculate rooftops’ solar potential, track air quality, and forecast pollen counts.

The platform recently launched a range of services like Solar API, which calculates weather patterns and pulls data from aerial imagery to help understand rooftops’ solar potential. The tool aims to help accelerate solar panel deployment by improving accuracy and reducing the number of site visits needed.

As seasonal allergies get worse every year, Pollen API shows updated information on the most common allergens in 65 countries by using a mix of machine learning and wind patterns. Similarly, Air Quality API provides detailed information on local air quality by utilizing data from multiple sources, like government monitoring stations, satellites, live traffic, and more, and can show areas affected by wildfires too.

Oct 2, 2023

Around the world with no emissions with Solar Airship One

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability, transportation

Solar Airship One embarks on a 24,854-mile zero-emissions world tour powered by the Sun and hydrogen. A game-changer in sustainable aviation.

Euro Airship unveiled its groundbreaking project, Solar Airship One, in a historic move towards sustainable aviation in a press release. This innovative venture promises to revolutionize long-distance aviation by completing a non-stop world tour spanning over 24,854 miles (40,000 kilometers), all while producing zero emissions. Set to take flight in 2026, Solar Airship One represents a significant leap forward in the quest for environmentally friendly transportation.

A massive ship in the sky

Continue reading “Around the world with no emissions with Solar Airship One” »

Sep 30, 2023

These flying origami-inspired robots change shape in mid-air

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI, solar power, sustainability

Scientists at the University of Washington have developed flying robots that change shape in mid-air, all without batteries, as originally published in the research journal Science Robotics. These miniature Transformers snap into a folded position during flight to stabilize descent. They weigh just 400 milligrams and feature an on-board battery-free actuator complete with a solar power-harvesting circuit.

Here’s how they work. These robots actually mimic the flight of different leaf types in mid-air once they’re dropped from a drone at an approximate height of 130 feet. The origami-inspired design allows them to transform quickly from an unfolded to a folded state, a process that takes just 25 milliseconds. This transformation allows for different descent trajectories, with the unfolded position floating around on the breeze and the folded one falling more directly. Small robots are nothing new, but this is the first solar-powered microflier that allows for control over the descent, thanks to an onboard pressure sensor to estimate altitude, an onboard timer and a simple Bluetooth receiver.

Sep 30, 2023

Striking rare gold: Researchers unveil new material infused with gold in an exotic chemical state

Posted by in categories: chemistry, particle physics, solar power, sustainability

For the first time, Stanford researchers have found a way to create and stabilize an extremely rare form of gold that has lost two negatively charged electrons, denoted Au2+. The material stabilizing this elusive version of the valued element is a halide perovskite—a class of crystalline materials that holds great promise for various applications including more-efficient solar cells, light sources, and electronics components.

Surprisingly, the Au2+ is also quick and simple to make using off-the-shelf ingredients at .

“It was a real surprise that we were able to synthesize a stable material containing Au2+ —I didn’t even believe it at first,” said Hemamala Karunadasa, associate professor of chemistry at the Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences and senior author of the study published Aug. 28 in Nature Chemistry. “Creating this first-of-its-kind Au2+ perovskite is exciting. The in the perovskite bear strong similarities to the copper atoms in high-temperature superconductors, and heavy atoms with unpaired electrons, like Au2+, show cool magnetic effects not seen in lighter atoms.”

Sep 28, 2023

Univ. of Washington researchers roll out tiny, battery-free, autonomous robot called ‘MilliMobile’

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, solar power, sustainability

University of Washington researchers are rolling out another tiny robotic breakthrough, this time in the form of an autonomous device that relies on surrounding light or radio waves to move in short bursts.

The robot, dubbed MilliMobile, is about the size of a penny and weighs as much as a raisin, and a typical power source, such as a battery, has been kicked to the curb in favor of more environmentally friendly approach.

MilliMobile has a solar panel-like energy harvester that sits above four tiny wheels, enabling the robot to roll — in incremental steps — about the 30 feet in an hour across surfaces such as concrete or packed soil.

Page 7 of 127First4567891011Last