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Nanorods made of fullerenes improve performance of polymer solar cells

The biggest obstacle to making use of solar energy has been the excessively high price of solar cells made of inorganic semiconductors. In contrast, solar cells based on semiconducting polymers are affordable, light, thin, and flexible -- but their performance has been lacking. A team led by Chain-Shu Hsu at the National Chaio Tung University and Yuh-Lin Wang at Academia Sinica in Taiwan has now developed a new approach that uses fullerene nanorods to significantly increase the effectiveness of polymer-based solar cells. They introduce their work in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

Forces within molecules can strengthen extra-long carbon-carbon bonds

The strength of a chemical bond between atoms is the fundamental basis for a molecule’s stability and reactivity. Tuning the strength and accessibility of the bond can dramatically change a molecule’s properties. For example, a bond’s strength is directly related to its length: stretching a bond beyond its normal length makes it weaker. (PhysOrg.com)

Hot nickel nudges graphene: Study simplifies manufacture of semiconducting bilayer graphene
By heating metal to make graphene, Rice University researchers may warm the hearts of high-tech electronics manufacturers.(PhysOrg.com)

Researchers create nanoscale gold coating with largest-ever superlattice

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute developed a new method for creating a layer of gold nanoparticles that measures only billionths of a meter thick. These self-assembling gold coatings with features measuring less than 10 nanometers could hold important implications for nanoelectronics manufacturing.(PhysOrg.com)

Inside story: Chemical reactivity on the inner surface of single-walled carbon nanotubes

Historically, the interior surface of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) has not been considered to be chemically reactive. Recently, however, researchers at the University of Nottingham School of Chemistry in the UK and the Ulm University Transmission Electron Microscopy Group in Germany demonstrated sidewall (inner surface) chemical reactions when they inserted catalytically active atoms of rhenium metal (Re) into these atomically thin cylinders of carbon. These reactions formed nanometer-sized hollow protrusions in three distinct phases (sidewall deformation and rupture, open nanoprotrusion formation, and stable closed nanoprotrusion) which the researchers imaged at the atomic level – in real time at room temperature – using Aberration-Corrected High-Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (AC-HRTEM).(PhysOrg.com)

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