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The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest

Introductory video to solar cells

How do solar cells convert sunlight into electricity? If you are new to solar cells, here is a great introductory video from the VegaScience Trust's great Instructional Science and Engineering Videos series by Jonathan Hare.

Posted: Jun 6th, 2011

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Microscopy with a quantum tip

The heart of a scanning probe microscope is a moveable, suspended tip, which, like the needle on a record player, reacts to small height variations on the surface, and turns these into signals that can be displayed on a computer. Researchers have now been able to create this tip, not out of solid material, as in the case of the record player, but out of an ultra-cold, dilute gas of atoms. To do this, they cooled an especially pure gas of rubidium atoms to a temperature less than a millionth of a degree above absolute zero temperature, and stored the atoms in a magnetic trap. This 'quantum tip' can be precisely positioned and enables the probing of nanostructured surfaces.

Posted: Jun 6th, 2011

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New battery design could give electric vehicles a jolt

A radically new approach to the design of batteries, developed by researchers at MIT, could provide a lightweight and inexpensive alternative to existing batteries for electric vehicles and the power grid. The technology could even make 'refueling' such batteries as quick and easy as pumping gas into a conventional car.

Posted: Jun 6th, 2011

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In very narrow spaces, liquids behave more like gels

Three molecules thick, or two, or one: how does an extremely thin layer of trapped liquid behave when we make it even thinner? Measurements made using the Atomic Force Microscope show that the forces of friction increase with each step.

Posted: Jun 3rd, 2011

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Phase-change memory solid state device points to future of computer storage

A University of California, San Diego faculty-student team is about to demonstrate a first-of-its kind, phase-change memory solid state storage device that provides performance thousands of times faster than a conventional hard drive and up to seven times faster than current state-of-the-art solid-state drives.

Posted: Jun 2nd, 2011

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