Harnessing More of the Sun’s Spectrum

Researchers at MIT have a very interesting idea of utilizing elastic strain on nanomaterials to create a funnel, of sorts, that electrons and holes are electronically forced to the bottom of a funnel. A pin essentially changes the uber thin sheath of nanomaterials which changes it’s characteristics and wavelengths essentially now able to capture solar energy that is not typically visible or usable before. That invisible spectrum accounts for much of the sun’s energy. In other words, the electricity that is gained from solar power is now increased because of altering inelastic material to elastic and capturing more of the sun’s spectrum as energy.

According to the article “One of the first commercial applications of elastic-strain engineering was the achievement, by IBM and Intel, of a 50 percent improvement in velocity of electrons simply by imparting a 1 percent elastic strain on nanoscale silicon channels in transistors.”  This is an incredible breakthrough and I look forward to hearing more about this technology!


IBM Comes up Big in Nanotechnology

If you didn’t get it I used a play on words for the title. If you did…you are getting my sense of humor:)

The big brains from big blue used 8 very smart guys to come up with a chip test that made over 10,000 working transistors on a single chip using carbon nanotubes. For you that are new to carbon nanotubes, this is the Mac Daddy of nanotechnology. People have been touting carbon nanotubes for sometime but it’s taking some time to really start reaching some of the pent up potential. The entire article can be found here.

Carbon fiber planes, cars, and yes…even boats are appearing in the marketplace as a replacement to steel as it is stronger and lighter. The carbon nanotubes are smaller and more efficient. Now, if they can only get it cheaper and easier to process is the $64 million question (inflation, you know). I know we are a long way off but this is a fabulous job and kudos to the guys at IBM!