Friday, November 5, 2010

Solar film holds big promise
Thin material could lead to cheaper energy

Some day, in the not too distant future, your home's windows could double as power producers thanks to a thin solar film created by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Thinking broadly, the film could turn a car hood, a patio table, or just about anything else the sun touches into little photovoltaic powerhouses. Or, it could be used in large solar arrays (full story).

The advance by Los Alamos and Brookhaven received extensive coverage, including:

Material could collect sunlight from roof and windows
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New transparent, light-harvesting material could lead to power generating windows
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Semiconductors + fullerenes = power-generating windows

We've covered transparent solar cells here before, but when there's a cool new entry to the field it deserves some attention (full story).

Story here

Transparent film could enable large-scale solar applications
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N.M. labs likely to gain from treaty push

Nuclear weapons program managers have taken another look at key elements of the nuclear weapons modernization effort, according to Vice President Joe Biden, including weapons refurbishment and new multibillion-dollar uranium and plutonium buildings in Tennessee and at Los Alamos.

Based on those new reviews, Biden wrote, "We expect that funding requirements will increase in future budget years." (full story)

Buckman study says no risk from lab

A just-released independent review says radioactive materials related to Los Alamos National Laboratory activities present "no health risk" to a Rio Grande diversion project that will provide drinking water to Santa Fe city and county residents.

A summary of the report released Monday by ChemRisk found "LANL contributes very little, if any, chemicals and radionuclides to the Rio Grande during normal flow conditions" and also doesn't present a risk during stormwater runoff (full story).

Uncovering hidden order

At low temperature the uranium compound URu2Si2 exhibits a transition to a mysterious phase. The origin of this phase has not yet been uncovered, even after 25 years of intensive investigations, and it has therefore become known as the "“hidden order."

In a Physical Review B paper, Swedish researchers and collaborators at Los Alamos National Laboratory and in the Netherlands, report state-of-the-art electronic structure calculations that offer fresh insight into the nature of the electrons that are responsible for the hidden order (full story).

Physics experiment suggests existence of new particle

The existence of sterile neutrinos could help explain the composition of the universe, said William Louis, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory who is involved in the MiniBooNE experiment.

MiniBooNE is a collaboration among some 60 researchers at several institutions and was conducted at Fermilab to check the results of the Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector experiment at Los Alamos National Laboratory, which started in 1990 (full story).

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