Innovation in Organic Solar Cells Promise Low-Cost, Bendable, and Efficient Panels:
Korean researchers have created electrodes designed for use in all-organic solar cells using inexpensive zinc oxide, promising a dramatic upgrade in photovoltaic energy. Organic solar cells (OSCs) are foreseen to be light weight, flexible, and of a high conversion efficiency. But, most OSC electrodes use indium tin oxide, which is too costly and fragile to enable the manufacture of flexible, large-area solar panels with OSCs. Dr. Hongkyu Kang and Prof. Kwanghee Lee from the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology recently put forth a new method to create OSCs using inexpensive zinc oxide and does not compromise the efficiency of the material. Most OSCs are produced using a technique called “spin coating”, but this new method called “blade coating” makes up for the drawbacks of poor scalability of the spin technique. OSCs manufactured in this way demonstrated an efficiency of 7.67% for a module area of 0.5 square feet, which makes it the most efficient large-area OSC when compared to previous research.
Scientists unravel 'Hall effect' mystery in search for next generation memory storage devices:
An advance in the use of antiferromagnetic materials in memory storage devices has been made by an international team of physicists. Antiferromagnets are materials that have an internal magnetism caused by the spin of electrons, but almost no external magnetic field which allows them to be more densely packed together. This is particularly of interest to scientists since it can allow greater storage in magnetic memory devices and is a product of a phenomenon known as the “Hall Effect’. This concept basically means that voltage that appears perpendicular to the applied current direction creates charges that resemble binary code for computer systems, hence how it is able to retain memory. To further understand this effect researchers at the University of Tokyo came up with an explanation for the phenomenon with the Weyl antiferromagnet (Mn3Sn). Through applying tuned stress to the material they found that the magnetic field of antiferromagnets does not contribute to the effect due to a lack of voltage change, and rather the electrons within the material are responsible. This discovery will further inform the creation of magnetic devices that can sense quantum interactions, allowing them to capture more data about the mechanics and properties of our world.
‘The Five-Million-Year Odyssey’ reveals how migration shaped humankind:
Extensive population movements, including sea voyages from Southeast Asia to Polynesia, have had big impacts on human cultures and languages which archaeologist Peter Bellwood explains in a new book. In this depiction, Hawaiians navigate toward a meeting with European explorers who arrived in 1778.
Archaeologist Peter Bellwood’s academic odyssey of over 50 years around the world has brought new light to how migration has affected the course of human evolution. While his research is not completely comprehensive, he focused on the African australopithecines, a set of upright but partly apelike species thought to have included populations that evolved into members of our own genus, Homo, around 2.5 million to 3 million years ago. He then continued to make an argument based on the rise of food production and domestication in Europe and Asia around 9,000 years ago. During this time, expanding populations of early cultivators migrated to new lands in such great numbers that they spread major language families with them. As a result, Bellwood suggests that the expansion of more standard large language families to the populous may have allowed the fast development in communication, allowing the fast growth of these areas. He also provides an additional example for this idea through the example of farmers in what’s now Turkey spreading Indo-European languages into much of Europe sometime roughly 8,000 years ago. While this information is not entirely conclusive, it does shed light on the continuing mystery of exactly how we came to be, and what came before us.