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Catalyzing Commercialization: Solar Paper Powers Internet-of-Things Devices

Today’s solar cells are mainly used for large-scale power production. However, the up-and-coming internet of things (IoT) will require many sensors and devices to transmit information wirelessly to computer networks and mobile personal electronics. Those sensors and devices could be powered with solar cells that harvest energy from either freely available sunlight or indoor lighting, provided the solar cells are small, inexpensive, lightweight, and able to conform and adhere to surfaces with any shape or texture.

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Catalyzing Commercialization: An Economically Viable Process to Recover High-Value Products from Red Mud

Aluminum (Al) possesses many desirable properties: a high strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, thermal conductivity, and ductility. Over the past five decades, Al and its alloys have been used extensively for automotive, construction, electrical, and chemical applications. The growing demand for Al is met with an increase in demand for bauxite, a native ore for primary Al production.

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Catalyzing Commercialization: Novel Palladium-Graphene Catalysts Improve Pharmaceutical Processing

Pharmaceutical companies use a variety of metal catalysts to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). One of the most widely used catalytic reactions in commercial operation is the Suzuki cross-coupling reaction, which can produce high-volume drugs such as the anti-hypertension drug losartan. These reactions traditionally employ homogeneous palladium catalysts, which often require extensive purification to separate the catalyst from the product.

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Catalyzing Commercialization: Next-Generation Photovoltaics for Economic, Clean Energy

Energy sustainability represents one of the grand challenges facing modern society, and thin-film solar photovoltaics provide one of the best opportunities for rapidly expanding renewable energy use. Photovoltaics (PV) using the thin-film semi­conductor cadmium telluride (CdTe) have been commercialized at the gigawatts (GW)-per-year scale, with 17.5 GWs installed globally.

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Catalyzing Commercialization: Microfluidics-Based Bioanalytical Solutions Change the Game

Microfluidic devices operate at physical length scales similar to biological constituents (e.g., cells and molecules) and can manipulate solutions of these constituents within microscale channels and chambers. A microfluidic device, also called a lab-on-a-chip (LOC), takes advantage of physics at these small dimensions to detect low sample concentrations — in the nanomolar to picomolar range — with high sensitivity. LOC devices can carry out assays at extremely small volumes, with just a microliter or picoliter of fluid.

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