Using arrays of long, thin silicon wires embedded in a polymer substrate, a team of scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has created a new type of flexible solar cell that enhances the absorption of sunlight and efficiently converts its photons into electrons. The solar cell does all this using only a fraction of the expensive semiconductor materials required by conventional solar cells.
Caltech researchers have developed a way to make some notoriously brittle materials ductile—yet stronger than ever—simply by reducing their size. The work could eventually lead to innovative, superstrong, yet light and damage-tolerant materials. These materials could be used as components in structural applications, such as in lightweight aerospace vehicles that last longer under extreme environmental conditions and in naval vessels that are resistant to corrosion and wear.
The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Dow Chemical Company today announced a new solar-research collaboration aimed at developing the use of semiconductor materials that are less expensive and more abundant than those used in many of today's solar cells. In addition, they announced the creation of the Dow Chemical Company Graduate Fellowship in Chemical Sciences and Engineering.
In work that someday may lead to the development of novel types of nanoscale electronic devices, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has combined DNA's talent for self-assembly with the remarkable electronic properties of carbon nanotubes, thereby suggesting a solution to the long-standing problem of organizing carbon nanotubes into nanoscale electronic circuits.
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created a nanoscale crystal device that, for the first time, allows scientists to confine both light and sound vibrations in the same tiny space. "This is a whole new concept," notes Oskar Painter, associate professor of applied physics at Caltech. Painter is the principal investigator on the paper describing the work, which was published in the online edition of the journal Nature.
Caltech scientists have uncovered the physical mechanism by which arrays of nanoscale pillars can be grown on polymer films with very high precision, in potentially limitless patterns. This nanofluidic process—described in a recent article in Physical Review Letters—could someday replace the conventional lithographic patterning techniques now used to build 3-D nano- and microscale structures for use in optical, photonic, and biofluidic devices.
Scientists at the Caltech and IBM's Almaden Research Center have developed a new technique to orient and position self-assembled DNA shapes and patterns--or "DNA origami"--on surfaces that are compatible with today's semiconductor manufacturing equipment. These precisely positioned DNA nanostructures, each no more than one one-thousandth the width of a human hair, can serve as scaffolds or miniature circuit boards for the precise assembly of computer-chip components.
By squeezing a typical metal alloy at pressures hundreds of thousands of times greater than normal atmospheric pressure, scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created a material that does not expand when heated, as does nearly every normal metal, and acts like a metal with an entirely different chemical composition.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science has announced that it will fund the creation of 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) over the next five years, including one that will be housed at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). That EFRC will be headed by Harry Atwater, the Howard Hughes Professor and professor of applied physics and materials science.
Scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created a range of structural metallic-glass composites, based in titanium, that are lighter and less expensive than any the group had previously created, while still maintaining their toughness and ductility--the ability to be deformed without breaking.