Materials Science and Engineering

Perovskites provide big boost to silicon solar cells, Stanford study finds

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Research News

Putting a film of the crystalline material perovskite on top of a silicon solar cell increases the cell's efficiency nearly 50 percent, Stanford engineers say.

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Perovskites Boost Silicon Solar Cells
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Putting a film of perovskite on top of a silicon solar cell increases efficiency nearly 50 percent, Stanford engineers say.

Stacking perovskites, a crystalline material, onto a conventional silicon solar cell dramatically improves the overall efficiency of the cell, according to a new study led by Stanford engineers.

The researchers describe their novel perovskite-silicon solar cell in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.

Last modified Tue, 20 Jan, 2015 at 12:43

Stanford engineers use brilliant X-rays to illuminate catalysis, revise theories

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Research Profile

Using high-brilliance X-rays in a new way, Stanford engineers observed electrons at work during catalytic reactions. Their findings challenge long-held theories about some catalysts, opening the door to new or improved renewable energy applications.

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Brilliant X-rays Illuminate Catalysis
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Stanford engineers' findings challenge long-held theories about some catalysts.

Many of today's most promising renewable energy technologies – fuel cells, water splitters and artificial photosynthesis – rely on catalysts to expedite the chemical reactions at the heart of their potential. Catalysts are materials that enhance chemical reactions without being consumed in the process. For more than a century, engineers across the world have engaged in a near-continual search for ways to improve catalysts for their devices and processes.

Last modified Tue, 20 Jan, 2015 at 11:40

Stanford faculty awarded seed grants for innovative energy research

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Stanford's Precourt Institute, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center and TomKat Center have awarded eight seed grants to Stanford faculty for early-stage energy research.

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Seed Grants for Energy Research
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Eight grants awarded to Stanford faculty for early-stage energy research.

Stanford University's Precourt Institute for Energy, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center and TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy have awarded eight seed grants totaling about $1.5 million for promising new research in clean technology and energy efficiency.

Last modified Thu, 18 Dec, 2014 at 10:01

Stanford team wins international award for experimental blood test device that uses a smart phone

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Four students and two faculty advisors create portable device that can detect hepatitis B infections in minutes to win one of five awards in the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, a global competition to improve diagnostic devices.

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Stanford Team Wins at XCHALLENGE
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Experimental blood test device that uses a smart phone wins one of five awards at a global competition to improve diagnostic devices.

A team of Stanford University students and faculty has been selected as one of five Distinguished Award Prize winners in the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, a global competition to catalyze breakthrough medical sensing technologies that will ultimately enable faster diagnoses and easier personal health monitoring.

The Stanford team was recognized for developing a hepatitis B blood test that can be analyzed in minutes using the microprocessor in a smart phone.

Last modified Wed, 12 Nov, 2014 at 17:47

Stanford scientists create a 'smart' lithium-ion battery that warns of potential fire hazards

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Stanford's Yi Cui and colleagues have created a lithium-ion battery that alerts users to potential overheating and fire.

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Battery Warns of Fire Hazards
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Stanford's Yi Cui and colleagues have created a lithium-ion battery that alerts users to potential overheating.

Stanford University scientists have developed a "smart" lithium-ion battery that gives ample warning before it overheats and bursts into flames.

The new technology is designed for conventional lithium-ion batteries now used in billions of cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices, as well as a growing number of cars and airplanes.

Last modified Mon, 13 Oct, 2014 at 11:21

Stanford team invents sensor that uses radio waves to detect subtle changes in pressure

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Device is used to monitor brain pressure in lab mice as prelude to possible use with human patients; future applications of this pressure-sensing technology could lead to touch-sensitive “skin” for prosthetic devices.

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Wireless sensor measures pressure
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Sensor uses radio waves to detect subtle changes in pressure

Stanford engineers have invented a wireless pressure sensor that has already been used to measure brain pressure in lab mice with brain injuries.

The underlying technology has such broad potential that it could one day be used to create skin-like materials that can sense pressure, leading to prosthetic devices with the electronic equivalent of a sense of touch.

Last modified Fri, 10 Oct, 2014 at 9:14

Stanford's GCEP awards $10.5 million for research on renewable energy

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Stanford scientists and an international research group receive funding to advance solar cells, batteries, renewable fuels and bioenergy.

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Multiple energy projects receive grants
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GCEP awards foster continued research into renewable energy

The Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) at Stanford University has awarded $10.5 million for seven research projects designed to advance a broad range of renewable energy technologies. The funding will be shared by six Stanford research teams and an international group from the United States and Europe.

Last modified Wed, 8 Oct, 2014 at 12:47

Stanford team developing gel-like padding that could help cells survive injection and heal spinal cord injuries

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A team of engineers and scientists is developing a gel to help protect cells from the trauma of being injected into an injury site. The work could help speed cell-based therapies for spinal cord injuries and other types of damage.

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Helping Cells Survive Injection
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Engineers and scientists develop a gel to help protect cells from the trauma of being injected into an injury site.

It is a turbulent and sometimes deadly life for cells injected to heal injuries. The act of being squirted through a thin needle into the site of an injury jostles the delicate cells against each other and against the needle walls. Then, once in the site of injury, they face a biological war zone of chemicals. It's no wonder, then, that treating spinal cord injuries and other damage with injected cells has been a challenge.

Last modified Wed, 17 Sep, 2014 at 11:54

Rapid charging and draining doesn’t damage lithium ion battery electrodes as much as thought

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A team including Stanford engineers discovers that the benefits of slow draining and charging may have been overestimated.

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New View on Battery "Supercharging"
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Rapid charging and draining doesn’t damage lithium ion battery electrodes as much as thought.

A comprehensive look at how tiny particles in a lithium ion battery electrode behave shows that rapid-charging the battery and using it to do high-power, rapidly draining work may not be as damaging as researchers had thought – and that the benefits of slow draining and charging may have been overestimated.

Last modified Thu, 6 Nov, 2014 at 11:29

Paul McIntyre named chair of Materials Science and Engineering

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The professor is an expert on developing inorganic nanostructures for semiconductor and energy applications.

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McIntyre to lead Materials Science
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Professor Paul McIntyre is an expert on developing inorganic nanostructures for semiconductor and energy applications.

Professor Paul McIntyre, an expert on developing inorganic nanostructures for semiconductor and energy applications, has become chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Stanford University.

Last modified Thu, 18 Sep, 2014 at 8:32