Stanford technology makes metal wires on solar cells nearly invisible to light

Stanford technology makes metal wires on solar cells nearly invisible to light

A solar cell is basically a semiconductor, which converts sunlight into electricity, sandwiched between metal contacts that carry the electrical current.

But this widely used design has a flaw: The shiny metal on top of the cell actually reflects sunlight away from the semiconductor where electricity is produced, reducing the cell's efficiency.

Penn researchers discover why E. coli move faster in syrup-like fluids than in water

Penn researchers discover why E. coli move faster in syrup-like fluids than in water

Swimming in a pool of syrup would be difficult for most people, but for bacteria like E. coli, it's easier than swimming in water. Scientists have known for decades that these cells move faster and farther in viscoelastic fluids, such as the saliva, mucus, and other bodily fluids they are likely to call home, but didn't understand why.

Researchers from the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Arts & Sciences have come together to find an answer. Their findings could inform disease models and treatments, or even help design microscopic swimming robots.

Why bartenders have to ignore some signals

Why bartenders have to ignore some signals

Soil pulled from deep under Oregon's unglaciated Coast Range unveils frosty past climate

EUGENE, Ore. -- Nov. 27, 2015 -- Lush greenery rich in Douglas fir and hemlock trees covers the Triangle Lake valley of the Oregon Coast Range. Today, however, geologists across the country are more focused on sediment samples dating back 50,000 years that were dug up by University of Oregon scientists.

International disparities in measuring energy sources

As countries around the world shift toward greater use of non-fossil fuels, the wide range of methods used to set targets for remaining fossil fuel emissions and to measure results and progress is highly disparate and needs to be standardized, authors of this Policy Forum emphasize. Standardization is increasingly important as the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) begins on 30 November, where world leaders will convene in Paris and once again discuss their countries' long-term energy targets.

Nuclear waste storage sites in rock salt may be more vulnerable than previously thought

Research from The University of Texas at Austin shows that rock salt, used by Germany and the United States as a subsurface container for radioactive waste, might not be as impermeable as thought or as capable of isolating nuclear waste from groundwater in the event that a capsule or storage vessel failed.

Doping powers new thermoelectric material

In the production of power, nearly two-thirds of energy input from fossil fuels is lost as waste heat. Industry is hungry for materials that can convert this heat to useful electricity, but a good thermoelectric material is hard to find.

Shedding light on oil behaviors before the next spill

A comprehensive scientific report released today by The Royal Society of Canada (RSC) has concluded that there are still critical research gaps hampering efforts to both assess the environmental impacts of crude oil spills and to effectively remediate them.

New 'party pill' test could help authorities keep up with trends in drug (ab)use

Amsterdam, November 25, 2015 - A new test for club drugs like ketamine can detect low levels of drugs in urine and plasma, making it faster, easier and cheaper to identify them. The authors of the study, published in Journal of Chromatography B, say it could give authorities the boost they need to keep up with trends drug (ab)use.

Visual authoring tool helps non-experts build their own digital story worlds

Creating characters and situations that computers can use to generate stories for video games is a task that normally requires expert knowledge, but Disney Research is developing a new interface that can help more people build these digital story worlds.