The nanostructuring of silicon surfaces-known as black silicon-is a promising approach to eliminate front-surface reflection in photovoltaic devices without the need for a conventional antireflection coating. This might lead to both an increase in efficiency and a reduction in the manufacturing costs of solar cells. However, all previous attempts to integrate black silicon into solar cells have resulted in cell efficiencies well below 20% due to the increased charge carrier recombination at the nanostructured surface. Here, we show that a conformal alumina film can solve the issue of surface recombination in black silicon solar cells by providing excellent chemical and electrical passivation. We demonstrate that efficiencies above 22% can be reached, even in thick interdigitated back-contacted cells, where carrier transport is very sensitive to front surface passivation. This means that the surface recombination issue has truly been solved and black silicon solar cells have real potential for industrial production. Furthermore, we show that the use of black silicon can result in a 3% increase in daily energy production when compared with a reference cell with the same efficiency, due to its better angular acceptance.
Uneven illumination affects every image acquired by a microscope. It is often overlooked, but it can introduce considerable bias to image measurements. The most reliable correction methods require special reference images, and retrospective alternatives do not fully model the correction process. Our approach overcomes these issues for most optical microscopy applications without the need for reference images.
Dogs and cats have been cohabiting with us for thousands of years. They are the major human companions. Today, dogs and cats live in urban areas. Cats and most dogs are on high carbohydrate diets and face similar life-style challenges as the human beings. The health and well-being of companion animals, just as their owners, depends on the gut microbes. Providing a proper care and nutritionally balanced diet to companion animals is recognised as a part of our responsibility to maintain the health and wellbeing of our pet. However, as microbiota differences may facilitate exposure to pathogens and harmful environmental influences, it is prudent to search for novel tools to protect dogs and cats and at the same time the human owners from pathogens. Specific probiotic strains and/or their defined combinations may be useful in the canine and feline nutrition, therapy, and care. Probiotic supplementations have been successful in the prevention and treatment of acute gastroenteritis, treatment of IBD, and prevention of allergy in companion animals. New challenges for probiotic applications include maintenance of obesity and overweight, urogenital tract infections, Helicobacter gastritis and parasitic infections. The probiotics of human origin appear to be among the new promising tools for the maintenance of pets' health. However, the host-derived microorganisms might be the most appropriate probiotic source. Therefore, more controlled trials are needed to characterise new and safe probiotic preparations with an impact on general health and well being as well as health maintenance in dogs and cats.
The interspecific hybrid Saccharomyces pastorianus is the most commonly used yeast in brewery fermentations worldwide. Here, we generated de novo lager yeast hybrids by mating a domesticated and strongly flocculent Saccharomyces cerevisiae ale strain with the Saccharomyces eubayanus type strain. The hybrids were characterized with respect to the parent strains in a wort fermentation performed at temperatures typical for lager brewing (12 °C). The resulting beers were analysed for sugar and aroma compounds, while the yeasts were tested for their flocculation ability and α-glucoside transport capability. These hybrids inherited beneficial properties from both parent strains (cryotolerance, maltotriose utilization and strong flocculation) and showed apparent hybrid vigour, fermenting faster and producing beer with higher alcohol content (5.6 vs 4.5 % ABV) than the parents. Results suggest that interspecific hybridization is suitable for production of novel non-GM lager yeast strains with unique properties and will help in elucidating the evolutionary history of industrial lager yeast.
Compartmentalization is ubiquitous to many biological and artificial systems, be it for the separate storage of incompatible matter or to isolate transport processes. Advancements in the synthesis of sequential block copolymers offer a variety of tools to replicate natural design principles with tailor-made soft matter for the precise spatial separation of functionalities on multiple length scales. Here, we review recent trends in the self-assembly of amphiphilic block copolymers to multicompartment nanostructures (MCNs) under (semi-)dilute conditions, with special emphasis on ABC triblock terpolymers. The intrinsic immiscibility of connected blocks induces short-range repulsion into discrete nano-domains stabilized by a third, soluble block or molecular additive. Polymer blocks can be synthesized from an arsenal of functional monomers directing self-assembly through packing frustration or response to various fields. The mobility in solution further allows the manipulation of self-assembly processes into specific directions by clever choice of environmental conditions. This review focuses on practical concepts that direct self-assembly into predictable nanostructures, while narrowing particle dispersity with respect to size, shape and internal morphology. The growing understanding of underlying self-assembly mechanisms expands the number of experimental concepts providing the means to target and manipulate progressively complex superstructures.
Metal laden wastes and contamination pose a threat to ecosystem well being and human health. Metal containing waste streams are also a valuable resource for recovery of precious and scarce elements. Although biological methods are inexpensive and effective for treating metal wastewaters and in situ bioremediation of metal(loid) contamination, little progress has been made towards metal(loid) recovery. Bioelectrochemical systems are emerging as a new technology platform for removal and recovery of metal ions from metallurgical wastes, process streams and wastewaters. Biodegradation of organic matter by electroactive biofilms at the anode has been successfully coupled to cathodic reduction of metal ions. Until now, leaching of Co(II) from LiCoO2 particles, and removal of metal ions i.e. Co(III/II), Cr(VI), Cu(II), Hg(II), Ag(I), Se(IV), and Cd(II) from aqueous solutions has been demonstrated. This article reviews the state of art research of bioelectrochemical systems for removal and recovery of metal(loid) ions and pertaining removal mechanisms.