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Cheap, printable photovoltaic cells could boost worldwide use of solar power

November 4, 2011

An alternative design of a type of solar cell first discovered 20 years ago, the dye-sensitized nanocrystal cell (DSC),  could lead to cheap, printable cells that would massively boost the worldwide use of solar power.

Electrochemist Michael Grätzel at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and colleagues have found alternatives to the expensive dyes and voltage limits of the DSC, achieving record-breaking voltages (up to 0.97 V) and efficiencies… read more

Cheap, power-efficient flash memory for big data without sacrificing speed

August 6, 2015

BlueDBM Cluster-ft

There’s a big problem with big data: the huge RAM memory required. Now MIT researchers have developed a new system called “BlueDBM” that should make servers using flash memory as efficient as those using conventional RAM for several common big-data applications, while preserving their power and cost savings.

Here’s the context: Data sets in areas such as genomics, geological data, and daily twitter feeds can be as… read more

Cheap, Efficient Thermoelectrics

March 20, 2008
Random crystal lattices interrupt the flow of heat

MIT and Boston College researchers have developed an inexpensive, simple nanocomposite-based technique for achieving a 40 percent increase in the efficiency of a common thermoelectric material, making possible solar panels and car exhaust pipes that use waste heat for electrical power.

Cheap, easy technique to snip DNA could revolutionize gene therapy

January 8, 2013

The bacterial enzyme Cas9 is the engine of RNA-programmed genome engineering in human cells (credit: Jennifer Doudna/UC Berkeley)

A simple, precise, and inexpensive method for cutting DNA to insert genes into human cells could transform genetic medicine, making routine what now are expensive, complicated and rare procedures for replacing defective genes to fix genetic disease or even cure AIDS.

Discovered last year, two new papers published last week in the journal Science Express demonstrate that the technique also works in human cells.

“The ability… read more

Cheap, clean drinking water purified through nanotechnology

August 14, 2008

Scientists at the University of South Australia have discovered a simple way to remove bacteria and other contaminants from water using tiny particles of pure silica coated with a nanometer-thin layer of active material based on a hydrocarbon.

Cheap source of energy: Cell splits water via sunlight to produce hydrogen

May 2, 2007

Engineers at Washington University have developed a unique photocatalytic cell that splits water to produce hydrogen and oxygen in water using sunlight and the power of a nanostructured catalyst.

Cheap sensors could capture your every move

November 27, 2007

Small, cheap sensors for tracking the movement of a person’s entire body could lead to “whole-body interfaces” for controlling computers or playing games, researchers say.

Several sensors measuring about 2.5 centimetres on each side are attached to a person’s legs and arms. The sensors detect movement in two different ways: accelerometers and gyroscopes measure motion, but ultrasonic beeps are also emitted.

Tiny microphones mounted on the… read more

Cheap Nano Solar Cells

March 5, 2007

Researchers at University of Notre Dame have demonstrated a way to significantly improve the efficiency of solar cells by adding single-walled carbon nanotubes to a film made of titanium-dioxide nanoparticles.

The method doubles the efficiency of converting ultraviolet light into electrons when compared with the performance of the nanoparticles alone. The solar cells could be used to make hydrogen for fuel cells directly from water or for producing electricity.

Cheap material makes speedy memory

March 24, 2005

A low-cost, high-speed nonvolatile memory made from polystyrene and gold nanoparticles is being developed by researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles and the Rohm and Haas Electronic Materials Company.

The memory can be easily manufactured from inexpensive materials, making it potentially much cheaper than today’s flash memory chips; it can be read to and written electronically, making it potentially much faster than today’s CDs and DVDs.… read more

Cheap lenses could revolutionise quantum networks

October 15, 2008

Physicists at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering in Singapore and the Technical University of Munich have discovered a technique to transfer data between light and matter in a network node in a quantum network, using cheap lenses like those used in CD players, a low-cost alternative to the expensive cavities currently in use.

The lenses focus a beam of information-rich photons down to a spot immediately above… read more

Cheap IVF offers hope to childless millions

August 28, 2009

Doctors in Africa plans to offer in vitro fertilisation to couples for less than $300, a fraction of its cost in the west, using stripped-down incubators and cheap generic drugs.

Cheap Infrastructure

April 24, 2008

Google’s recently launched App Engine is one of several offering cheap infrastructure to Web businesses, allowing them to rent storage and processing power and avoid expensive hardware purchases.

Also see: Cloud Computing. Available at Today

Cheap Hydrogen

January 31, 2008

Nanoptek, a startup based in Maynard, MA, has developed a new way to make hydrogen from water using solar energy.

The company says that its process is cheap enough to compete with the cheapest approaches used now, which strip hydrogen from natural gas, and it has the further advantage of releasing no carbon dioxide.

Cheap Ethanol from Tires and Trash

January 14, 2008

General Motors has partnered with Coskata, a company that claims it can make ethanol from wood chips, grass, and trash–including old tires–for a dollar a gallon, using a hybrid approach that involves thermochemical and biological processes.

Cheap Electronics on Paper Diagnostic Chips

October 19, 2010

This array of red LEDs built on a piece of paper can be folded without damaging the electronics.  (NPG/Nature Materials)

Researchers at two startup companies and the University of Illinois are building all the capabilities of expensive lab-bench tests onto a piece of paper, without adding significant weight or other cost to the tests.

The group behind these flexible arrays of LEDs, light detectors, and transistors is also working with medical-device companies to incorporate them into surgical tools and bedside monitors for hospitals.

The company has patterned postage-stamp-sized… read more

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