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Direct carbon fuel cell stack designs

Problem: The world has an ever-growing need to provide energy while limiting harm to the environment. Carbon based fuels are cheap and abundant, but generating electricity by burning these fuels creates harmful byproducts. Alternative energy sources, such as traditional fuel cells, face economic challenges due to the difficulty and expense of preparing...

Published: 3/20/2020

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GRP8 as a target for improving plant stress response to water and nutrient starvation

Genetically engineered plants for increased resistance to nutrient stress Problem: The plant root epidermis absorbs water and nutrients from the environment, using long hair-like projections from root hair cells to increase surface area. Plants regulate the ratio of root hair to nonhair cells based on environmental signals, with plants grown under...

Published: 2/6/2020

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Phytochelatin-based heavy metal detoxification in phytoremediation and agricultural applications

AtPCS gene encoding multispecific heavy metal resistance factor from plantsProblem: Environmental contamination with heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and/or mercury is implicated in human disease and agricultural losses. Industrial and mining activities, as well as natural mineral outcrops, have resulted in the contamination of soils and...

Published: 2/5/2020

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Tunable laser frequency doubling device

Problem: Nonlinear materials are used in laser light sources to modify or enhance the properties of incoming light. One of these techniques, second harmonic generation, is used to generate new light sources at double the frequency of the incoming light. This technique can be used to generate light at frequencies for which there is no convenient laser...

Published: 1/31/2020

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Robust Smart Windows: Reversible Switching from Transparent to Color

Technology Overview: A composite film consisting of a thin layer of quasi-amorphous array of silica nanoparticles (NPs) is embedded in a bulk elastomeric polymer film. It is highly transparent (>90% transmittance in the visible wavelength) in the initial state. Upon mechanical stretching, the transmittance is dramatically reduced to 30% and...

Published: 1/31/2020

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Platinum Silicide thin films with tailored properties

Problem: Platinum is highly conductive but it has poor mechanical properties and is not very durable when used in mechanical devices. In the emerging field of nanoelectromechanical (NEM) contact switches, reliability has been identified as a key concern, and to fully enable NEM switches, new materials are needed that can perform well mechanically...

Published: 1/28/2020

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Simple chemical method for the separation of rare earth metals

New recycling strategy for separating neodymium and dysprosium from hard magnets Technology Overview: Recycling of rare earth metals from finished products is one possible new source of rare earth metals; however, there is a shortage of simple chemical methods to enable recycling. Less than 1% of rare earths were recycled in 2011. One of the...

Published: 1/27/2020

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Agricultural formulation and transgenic methods for regulating crop yield

osite roles of the phytohormone gibberellin in the events that lead to formation of flowers, fruits, and seeds. Elevated gibberellin promotes termination of the vegetative phase and triggers bolting, while reduced gibberellin triggers flower formation. These two events are coupled in that gibberellin increases the expression of genes encoding transcription...

Published: 1/23/2020

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Polymer nanocomposite films with extremely high nanoparticle loading

of polymers to yield nanostructured films. PNCFs with extremely high nanoparticle concentrations are important components in energy storage and conversion devices, as well as in protective coatings. However, these PNCFs are difficult to prepare because of the poor processability of polymer-nanoparticle mixtures with high concentrations of nanoparticles;...

Published: 1/23/2020

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pH-responsive, shape changing amphiphilic Janus particles

Stimuli-responsive colloid surfactants for thermodynamically stable emulsions and phase inversion emulsification Problem: Janus particles are biphasic colloids that have distinct chemistries and contrasting properties on each side. Because of their amphiphilicity, Janus particles have the unique ability to stabilize multiphasic fluid mixtures,...

Published: 1/23/2020

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