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Research by scientists at the University of Bath (UK) is challenging claims that nanoparticles in medicated and cosmetic creams are able to transport and deliver active ingredients deep inside the skin.

Christopher S.J. Campbell, L. Rodrigo Contreras-Rojas, M. Begoña Delgado-Charro, Richard H. Guy: Objective assessment of nanoparticle disposition in mammalian skin after topical exposure, In: Journal of Controlled Release, Volume 162, Issue 1, August 20, 2012, Pages 201-207, DOI:10.1016/j.jconrel.2012.06.024: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jconrel.2012.06.024

http://www.bath.ac.uk/pharmacy/

EPFL’s Institute of Microengineering (CH) presented in Frankfurt “hybrid” photovoltaic cells with an energy conversion efficiency of 21.4%, the highest obtained for the type of substrate they used. This breakthrough will contribute to lower the cost of solar cell based installations.

The PVlab specializes in thin film solar cells and has been interested for several years in “hybrid” technologies, better known as heterojunction technologies, designed to enhance solar captors’ performance. “We apply an infinitesimal layer – one hundredth of a micron – of amorphous silicon on both sides of a crystalline silicon wafer,” explains Christophe Ballif. This “sandwich” conception contributes to increase the sensors’ effectiveness. To bring these innovations to a stage of industrialization may only take a few years. This research was partly financed as a commission for Roth & Rau Switzerland, whose parent company, Meyer Burger, has already started the commercialization of machines built for assembling this type of heterojunction sensors.

“Within three to five years, we expect to reach a production cost of 100 francs per square meter of sensors, estimates Stefaan DeWolf. In Switzerland, with the conversion efficiency achieved, such a surface will be able to produce between 200 and 300 kWh of electricity per year.”

A. Descoeudres, Z.C. Holman, L. Barraud, S. Morel, S. De Wolf, C. Ballif: >21% Efficient Silicon Heterojunction Solar Cells on n- and p-Type Wafers Compared, In: IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics, Early Access Articles, August 08, 2012, DOI:10.1109/JPHOTOV.2012.2209407: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/JPHOTOV.2012.2209407

A collaborative consortium hopes to build the world’s first fully functioning nano-electro-mechanical (NEM) relay-based processor targeting an energy efficiency that cannot be matched by transistor implementations thanks to a EUR2.44 million (USD3.14 m) grant by the European Commission.

The NEMIAC project (Nano-Electro-Mechanical Integration and Computation) will investigate this new technology to build digital integrated circuits for ultra-low power computing applications. The NEMIAC-consortium is led by IBM in Zurich, the other industrial partner is STMicroelectronics. Academic partners are the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Sweden, University of Bristol UK, École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne (EPFL) Switzerland, and Lancaster University UK.

http://seis.bris.ac.uk/~eeidbp/nemiac/nemiac.html http://www.bris.ac.uk/

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