This year's top five stories -

1. Carbon nanotubes could store solar energy

Using computational chemistry, researchers show that carbon nanotubes (CNTs) modified with azobenzene could provide the same energy storage per volume as lithium-ion batteries. Dubbed a solar thermal fuel, the material can be recharged by simply exposing it to sunlight. [Read the full story]

2. Bacterial nanowires conduct like metals

Adding a third electrode to the system turns a film of bacterial nanowires into a biological transistor that can be switched on and off by applying a voltage. [Read the full story]

3. Easy-to-produce black silicon could unlock promising applications

Uses for the light-absorbing material include more than just solar cells. Black silicon could improve the reliability of electrodes in battery systems and offer a platform for highly sensitive and fast-acting chemical sensors. [Read the full story]

4. Disappearing act: concealment using transparent carbon nanotube sheets

Modulating the temperature of highly oriented multi-walled carbon nanotube sheets (MWCNT), drawn from the sidewall of a 300–350 µm tall MWCNT forest, gives a mirage-based cloaking effect. [Read the full story]

5. Nanowire arrays improve performance of thin-film solar cells

Scientists at the University of Kentucky, US, have developed two novel device configurations for thin-film CdS-CdTe solar cells, where the traditional CdS window layer is replaced by nanowires of CdS embedded in an aluminum oxide matrix or free standing. [Read the full story]

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