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A look at how nanotechnology benefits solar cells, water treatment, wind turbines and other clean energy applications

Technology update

Breaking research and industry highlights

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Non-fullerene organic solar cells show speedy charge separation

Mapping the charge transport in new absorber material combinations points scientists on a different path towards efficient carbon-based solar cells.

Graphene composite provides wireless power at your fingertips

Researchers design a material for triboelectric nanogenerators that produces voltages large enough to wirelessly transmit and receive signals without additional electronics or power sources.

Substrate exfoliation carves an opening for kesterite photovoltaics

Sulphur incorporation followed by a neat exfoliation process enhances the voltage of kesterite solar cells and gives them the potential to power the Internet of Things

Cryo-electron microscopy reveals surface of Li metal in batteries

Freezing the Li metal anode shows nanostructure related to battery failure.

'Seeing' redox orbitals in batteries by Compton scattering

A new high-resolution x-ray Compton scattering method helps to visualize the perturbation of redox orbitals in energy-storage materials.

Nanoflowers harness sunlight

Novel nanostructures produced using a simple synthesis route obtain unprecedented rates of hydrogen evolution through environmentally friendly photocatalysis.

Semiconductor thin films make solar power cheaper – news from the Enlighten Conference 2017

Even the most demanding applications can be made more affordable by new thin-film fabrication techniques.

Flash Nano: CNT technology energizes clean power

Company marries “clean” and “nano” technology to produce a battery boasting enhanced storage, charge/discharge speeds and stability.

Aluminium oxide film staves off battery ageing

Epitaxial coating prevents performance fade by preserving electrode structure.

Solar collectors work better with nanofluids

Adding graphene to the working fluid improves the efficiency of heat transfer.

Irregular nanopatterns enable micron-thin silicon solar cells

Winning combination of characteristics promises exceptionally thin crystalline-silicon films manufactured with little waste.

Nanoscatterers make solar panels green – and red and blue and white

Single-step imprinting process can produce custom-coloured cells at little cost to efficiency.

Designing highly reversible aluminum-ion batteries with graphene

The safe alternative to lithium-ion chemistries can be cycled thousands of times, but graphene must be pure and defect-free for the best performance.

UK commits £246m to developing battery technology

Flash: Initiative will encourage collaboration between academia and industry to commercialize promising research.

Deck-of-cards heterostructures make ideal batteries

Careful choice of materials avoids the disadvantages of each component.

Paper generator harvests electricity from motion

The Chinese and Japanese art of paper cutting has inspired the development of a paper-based self-charging device which can harvest and store energy from body movement.

Improved battery capacity? Sounds like my cup of tea

Researchers demonstrate a lithium ion-cell with a high-performance carbon-based anode produced by simple processing of waste tea leaves.

Nanoparticles liberate flexible solar cells

A sacrificial layer of nanoparticles between device and substrate provides a sufficiently smooth surface for growing high-efficiency flexible organic solar cells that can be readily delaminated.

MoS2-pentacene heterojunctions help make better photovoltaics

The lifetime of charge carriers in hybrid material can be increased by roughly a factor of 10 from those in van der Waals heterojunctions based on 2D materials alone.

Polymers and small-molecule acceptors improve organic photovoltaics

Making highly efficient solar cells by combining cheap and readily available donor semiconducting polymers with two non-fullerene acceptors in a ternary blend.