With a simple coating, nanowires show dramatic increase in efficiency, sensitivity

first_img Read Full Story By applying a coating to individual silicon nanowires, researchers at Harvard and Berkeley have significantly improved the materials’ efficiency and sensitivity.The findings, published in the May 20, 2011, issue of Nano Letters, suggest that the coated wires hold promise for photodetectors and energy harvesting technologies like solar cells.Due to a large surface-to-volume ratio, nanowires typically suffer from a high surface recombination rate, meaning that photogenerated charges recombine rather than being collected at the terminals. The carrier lifetime of a basic nanowire is shortened by four to five orders of magnitude, reducing the material’s efficiency in applications like solar cells to a few percent.“Nanowires have the potential to offer high energy conversion at low cost, yet their limited efficiency has held them back,” says Kenneth Crozier, associate professor of electrical engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).With their latest work, Crozier and his colleagues demonstrated what could be a promising solution. Making fine-precision measurements on single nanowires coated with an amorphous silicon layer, the team showed a dramatic reduction in the surface recombination.Co-author Yaping Dan, a postdoctoral fellow in Crozier’s lab who spearheaded the experiments, suggests that the reason for the increased efficiency is that the coating physically extends the broken atom bonds at the single-crystalline silicon surface. At the same time, the coating also may form a high–electric potential barrier at the interface, which confines the photogenerated charge carriers inside the single-crystalline silicon.last_img read more

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Virtual Reality: Beyond the Hype and Ready for Business

first_imgIn recent years, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies have operated with a bit of hype—and C-suite skepticism—about their potential business use in practical applications. Of course, most will concede VR’s use in gaming. And, to “see” state-of-the-art military use of AR, they need look no further than the $400,000 F-35 pilot’s helmet. But, fact is, both are ready to transform the workplace by unleashing new waves of productivity in workers and professionals alike, thanks to powerful underlying technologies.AR and VR: What’s the difference?For people not staying up to date with AR and VR news, the two technologies might seem to mix their capabilities and applications. But to be clear, AR overlays data onto users’ views of their environments, and VR provides a totally immersive, simulated experience.An example of the former would be an AR industrial hard hat with a visor worn by workers on the floor of a petrochemical refinery. The visor’s margins would provide the interface for overlaying visualization of real-time, plant operational data, while the worker’s visual field out into the plant would remain unimpeded.An example of the latter is the VR headset that’s reportedly aboard the International Space Station. It surrounds astronaut users’ visual fields with a totally simulated environment to help train them in new critical procedures. In turn, it uses eye-tracking technology to provide a feedback loop to the software driving the training simulation — and to ground controllers, who can collaborate in the training.Powerful enabling technologies are keyThe secret to liberating AR and VR from the realm of science fiction is a combination of increasingly powerful hardware and software technologies. Developers now have massive processing power for desktop use as well as in portable form factors for field use.Take the new Dell Precision 7720 mobile workstation, for example. As Dell’s first VR-ready mobile model, it features the fastest Intel® Xeon™ processors available. These are supported with up to 64GB of compute RAM and 16GB of graphics RAM, plus fast SSD or HDD storage of up to 4TB.Hardware that’s so powerful yet portable unhitches AR and VR developers from fixed laboratories, so they can create enterprise solutions in the field, where users are. This can accelerate solutions development tremendously by helping to enable rapid prototyping around user activities, while effectively eliminating cycles of field testing.Then there are software advancements. At SXSW 2017 in March, Dell hosted the #Dell Experience VR Panel. One of the panelists was Michael Gold, co-founder and CEO of Holojam. His company provides a drag-and-drop platform for creators of AR and VR content and applications. There’s no need for custom code or expensive motion-capture stages, as was the case until recently.In effect, Holojam’s platform provides tools to expand the potential of AR and VR for use in business. And we can expect that many more companies will lower the entry barriers for AR and VR, just as video editing software on smartphones has enabled feature-length films to be shot without multimillion-dollar budgets.Examples of practical applications are growingOne of the most promising fields for practical applications of AR and VR is training. Most everyone has heard of flight simulators, the multimillion-dollar airline cockpits moved around by robotic arms in response to actions by the pilot trainees inside. AR and VR promise to condense all that into a headset.In addition to VR’s use in the space station, NASA is also using VR on the ground to train astronauts in spacewalking. AR and VR technologies are helping to train technicians in repairing complex infrastructure, too. Likewise, they can help surgeons acquire new techniques without putting patients at risk during the learning process.Speaking of healthcare, one of the panelists on the Dell SXSW 2017 VR panel was Dr. Skip Rizzo. As a psychologist at the University of Southern California, he uses VR to treat people with anxiety, PTSD and other neuropsychiatric disorders. His approach is now employed at Veterans Affairs hospitals, military bases and universities across the U.S.Architecture, construction and product development — or just about any discipline using computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering — can also benefit from AR and VR applications. These applications can immerse project stakeholders inside life-sized 3D simulations of their creations so they can work out design issues and limitations before sinking large amounts of capital into building or manufacturer.*         *          *Many more examples exist of how AR and VR technologies are finding their way into practical applications for business, industry, healthcare, education and other fields. We can expect gains in computing power and density to continue, while independent software developers, such as Holojam, accelerate their drive to bring new tools and applications to market. It finally appears that the hype around AR and VR is over and that both are here—for real.Find out more about how Dell EMC customer Solidray, a VR pioneer, uses Dell Precision Tower 5000 Series and Alienware Gaming Desktops to develop low-cost, head-mounted displays.last_img read more

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Police-involved shooting being investigated in Fort Lauderdale

first_imgThe Florida Department of Law Enforcement is currently investigating a shooting that left one person dead.The shooting occurred on Sunday night inside of a shopping plaza along A1A and Northeast 40th Street.Authorities say they were called to the scene by witnesses who reported seeing a man waving a gun around.Two responding officers immediately located the suspect standing with another male.A witness told reporters that authorities told the two men to “disperse,” but while one of the men did as they were told, the other just stood there and kept putting his hands up.At that time, other officers had arrived at the scene.When authorities told the suspect to freeze, the suspect opened fire on the officers, prompting them to return fire.Authorities performed CPR on the suspect and rushed him to Broward General Hospital where he later died.The gunman’s identity has not yet been released. It is also unclear what caused the gunman’s erratic behavior.last_img read more

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New Board Member and Officers Elected for Providence St. Peter Foundation

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Providence St. Peter FoundationProvidence St. Peter Foundation Board of Directors has recently elected a new member to its board of directors. Joining the board is Jennifer Burtner, MD, an emergency room physician and department medical director for Providence St. Peter Hospital. Dr. Burtner will serve a three-year term. Richard “Mick” Phillips, Jen Foley, Marcia Fromhold, Mark Naubert and Mark Wagner, MD were re-elected to additional three-year terms.“I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Burtner to the foundation board,” says Mick Phillips, foundation board president. “She brings a depth of experience from the medical community and a deep respect for the importance of having access to high-quality health care locally.”The foundation board also elected new officers. Mick Phillips, founding member of Phillips Burgess, PLLC was elected president. Scott Smitherman, MD was elected vice president and Kevin Schreiner, with Title Management, Inc. was elected treasurer. Each officer will serve a two-year term. Rick Middleton, President & CEO of Anderson & Middleton Company will serve as immediate past president.Retiring from the board after 12 years of service, is Joyce Targus, retired president and CEO of Frost & Company.About Providence St. Peter Foundation develops and provides philanthropic resources to help assure that compassionate and quality health care is available to the communities we serve, with special concern for the poor and vulnerable. In the last 16 years, the foundation has distributed more than $30 million to further the mission of compassionate care in our local communities. Learn more at the Providence St. Peter Foundation web page.last_img read more

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