Can Nano Breakthrough Revolutionize Solar Power?
A new method for extracting energy from solar panels will allow expensive silicon semiconductors to be replaced by much cheaper metals, making the energy source more cost effective.
What's the Latest Development?
A new way to extract electrical current from semiconductors may revolutionize solar power, finally making photovoltaic cells an affordable alternative to fossil fuels in the short run. A new method of 'doping', a process in which a chemical coating is applied to solar cells in order to extract power from their semiconductors, has been developed by a research group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California at Berkeley. Using graphene, a one-atom-thick material that is highly conductive, researchers have replaced the usual chemical coating with an electrical field.
What's the Big Idea?
Because chemical doping works only with silicon semiconductors, designing electrodes to allow an electric field to pass through and dope the semiconductor will allow the semiconductor to be manufactured from far less expensive materials, including metal oxides, sulfides, and phosphides. In addition to graphene, the team also experimented with extremely narrow nanowires to create the electric field. Researchers are optimistic about these discoveries' abilities to revolutionize solar power because they can be implemented using simple and cost-effective tweaks to current manufacturing processes.
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The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."
- A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
- In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
- The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.
Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.
Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.
- Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
- Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
- But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
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