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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Exploring the limits for high-performance LEDs and solar cells

Forster resonant energy transfer is a radiationless transmission of energy that occurs on the nanometer scale. The process promotes energy rather than charge transfer, providing an alternative contactless pathway that avoids some of the losses caused by charge recombination at the interface. Researchers in Cyprus and in Greece have conducted an investigation on how various structural and electronic parameters affect FRET.

Solar water splitting: Putting an extra ‘eye’ on surface reactions

Water-splitting cells absorb sunlight and produce fuel. Creating such cells means pairing a material to absorb sunlight and generate electrons with the one that uses those electrons to produce fuel. A novel way to study flow of electrons at the interface of the two materials revealed that ion-permeable catalysts form interfaces that yield more energy relative to comparable—but denser—catalysts.

Spin current on topological insulator detected electrically at room temperature

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have for the first time reported the electrical detection of spin current on topological insulator surfaces at room temperature by employing a ferromagnetic detector. The researchers detected the surface spin current electrically on bismuth selenide for the first time at room temperature employing ferromagnetic tunnel contacts.

Skyscraper-style chip design boosts electronic performance by factor of a thousand

Researchers from Stanford and other universities are working to create a revolutionary new high-rise architecture for computing. The team describes its new approach as Nano-Engineered Computing Systems Technology, or N3XT. N3XT will break data bottlenecks by integrating processors and memory like floors in a skyscraper and by connecting these components with tiny electronic elevators.

Nanostructured germanium for portable photovoltaics and battery electrodes

Using a new procedure, researchers at the Technical University of Munich and Ludwig Maximillians University of Munich can produce extremely thin and robust yet highly porous semiconductor layers. By integrating suitable organic polymers into the pores of the material, the scientists can custom tailor the electrical properties of the hybrid material. The design not only saves space, it also creates large interface surfaces that improve overall effectiveness.

Atomically flat tunnel transistor overcomes power challenge of electronics

One of the greatest challenges in the evolution of electronics has been to reduce power consumption during transistor switching operation. In a new study, engineers at University of California, Santa Barbara, in collaboration with Rice University, have demonstrated a new transistor that switches at only 0.1 volts and reduces power dissipation by over 90% compared to state-of-the-art silicon transistors (MOSFETs).