Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 35

The team originally developed this
method to make battery recycling
processes greener. Hydrogen peroxide is
one of the chemicals used to extract and
recover metals like copper, nickel, co balt,
and magnesium from used lithium-ion
batteries. Similarly, it also makes the activation
of hydrocarbon molecules more
efficient, which is a critical step in many
industrial chemical processes.
Moving forward, the team will work on
optimizing and scaling up the meth od for
potential use in hospitals. Future studies
include modifying the method so that it
can be done using a neutral electrolyte
(basically a salt solution) instead of an
acidic one, which would be better for
household and clinical applications.
For more information, contact Katherine
Connor, Jacobs School of Engineering, at
khconnor@eng.ucsd.edu; 858-534-8374.
Ultra-Thin, Energy-Efficient Photodetector Integrated
with Gorilla Glass
This could lead to the commercial development of smart glass, with applications ranging
from imaging to advanced robotics.
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
P
hotodetectors - also known as photosensors
- contribute to the convenience
of modern life. They convert
light energy into electrical signals to
complete tasks such as opening automatic
sliding doors and automatically adjusting
a cellphone's screen brightness in
different lighting conditions. Research -
ers are advancing photodetectors' use by
integrating the technology with durable
Gorilla glass, the material used for
smartphone screens
that
is manufactured
by Corning Incorporated.
Manufacturing and scaling photodetectors
on glass must be done using relatively
low temperatures (the glass de -
grades at high temperatures) and must
ensure the photodetector can operate on
glass using minimal energy. To overcome
the first challenge, the researchers determined
that the chemical compound
molybdenum disulfide was the best material
to use as a coating on the glass.
The team used a chemical reactor at
600 °C - a low enough temperature so
as not to degrade the Gorilla glass - to
fuse together the compound and glass.
The next step was to turn the glass and
coating into a photodetector by patterning
it using a conventional electron
beam lithography tool. The team tested
the glass using green LED lighting,
which mimics a more natural lighting
source, unlike laser lighting that is commonly
used in similar optoelectronics
research.
The ultra-thin body of the molybdenum
disulfide photodetectors allows for
better electrostatic control and ensures
it can operate with low power - a critical
need for the smart glass technology
of the future. The photodetectors need
to work in resource-constrained or inaccessible
locations that by nature do not
Tech Briefs, July 2021
Cov
This graphic depicts molybdenum disulfide growth on Gorilla glass - the process that turns normal
glass into a photodetector. (Jennifer M. McMann/Penn State Materials Research Institute)
have access to sources of unrestricted
electricity. Therefore, they need to rely
on pre-storing their own energy in the
form of wind or solar energy.
If developed commercially, smart glass
could lead to technology advances in
wide-ranging sectors of industry including
manufacturing, civil infrastructure,
energy, healthcare, transportation, and
aerospace engineering. The technology
could be applied in biomedical imaging,
www.techbriefs.com
ToC
security surveillance, environmental sens -
ing, optical communication, night vi -
sion, motion detection, and collision
avoidance systems for autonomous vehicles
and robots. Smart glass on car windshields
could adapt to oncoming highbeam
headlights when driving at night
by automatically shifting
its
opacity
using the technology.
For more information, contact Megan
Lak atos at mkl5024@psu.edu; 814-865-5544.
35
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Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021

Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Sponsor
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Cov2
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 1
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 2
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 3
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 4
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Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Cov3
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Cov4
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