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In this issue:
Understanding Active Materials in Organic Solar Cells
Reminder: Robert Hofstadter Memorial Lectures Tonight, Tomorrow
Colloquium Today: Transportation in a Climate-constrained World

SLAC Today

Monday - April 4, 2011

Understanding Active Materials in Organic Solar Cells

(Photo - organic solar cell)
An organic solar cell. (Photo: Solarmer, Wikimedia Commons.)

Organic or plastic solar cells have achieved efficiencies greater than 8 percent in converting sunlight to usable electric energy. That's close to the estimated 10-15 percent needed to make them economically viable. To close the gap, researchers need to improve control of the nanostructure of the active, energy-converting layer in these organic solar cells.

Recently, scientists from the University of California Santa Barbara and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource studied a common active layer for organic solar cells. The material contains a polymer, P3HT, with a partially ordered or "crystalline" structure, and a hollow carbon-based molecule, or "fullerene," called PCBM.

Read more...

Reminder: Robert Hofstadter Memorial Lectures Tonight, Tomorrow

The Department of Physics at Stanford University presents the 2011 Robert Hofstadter Memorial Lectures with distinguished theoretical physicist David Mermin, the Horace White Professor of Physics (emeritus) at Cornell University, co-author of the classic textbook Solid State Physics

At 8 p.m. tonight, Mermin will present "Spooky Actions at a Distance" at the Hewlett Teaching Center, 370 Serra Mall, Room 200, Stanford University campus. At 4:15 p.m. tomorrow, April 5, Mermin will present "What Has Quantum Mechanics to Do with Factoring?"  at the Hewlett Teaching Center, 370 Serra Mall, Room 201.

See the lecture Web site for a map and other information.

Colloquium Today: Transportation in a Climate-constrained World

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Today at 4:15 p.m. in Panofsky Auditorium, transportation and climate expert Andreas Schäfer from University of Cambridge, UK, will present "Transportation in a Climate-constrained World."

Transportation consumes two-thirds of the world's petroleum and has become the largest contributor to global environmental change. Most of this increase in scale can be attributed to the strong desire for personal mobility that comes with economic growth. In this talk, Schäfer will cover the past and future travel demand, the influence of personal and business choices on passenger travel's climate impact, technologies and alternative fuels that may become available to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from passenger transport, and policies that would promote a more sustainable transportation system. This talk is based on the recently published book Transportation in a Climate-constrained World (MIT Press), written by Schäfer and three MIT-colleagues, John Heywood, Henry Jacoby and Ian Waitz.

Andreas Schäfer is a faculty member at the University of Cambridge, UK, where he directs the Martin Center for Architectural and Urban Studies and co-directs the Institute for Aviation and the Environment. He recently joined the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center at Stanford University as a visiting professor, while on sabbatical. He holds a master's degree in aero-and astronautical engineering and a Ph.D. in energy economics, both from the University of Stuttgart, Germany. Prior to his tenure in Cambridge, he spent five years at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, and seven years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Colloquium is free and all are invited to attend.

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