circuits What the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) has discovered in a recent study of nanomaterials could be a game changer. It looks as though researchers have taken the next step towards fully understanding the potential synergies between miniature tech and solar energy. The studies have found that in the near future, nanotechnology will bring measurable improvements to the energy sector, saving advanced manufacturers an arm and a leg. We can expect to see major advancements in battery and solar panel technology, and we can’t wait to see how it will make circuit boards and electronics assemblies more efficient and affordable one day. In fact, we already may be closer than we think. On Wednesday, IBM announced that it had developed a revolutionary new method for harvesting solar energy using mirrors and small semi-conductors. Known as the High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system, the breakthrough technology is reportedly able to convert an unprecedented 80% of captured radiation into disposable energy! One of the major speedbumps that solar panel innovation had been hitting before these latest breakthroughs, was that there was no way to cool down photovoltaic systems once they reached a certain temperature. IBM’s HCPTV system (and hopefully future nanotech designs) are tackling this issue by covering the semiconductors with nanomaterials that are so thin that liquid coolant can get closer to the scalding chip, thus cooling them better than ever before. Coming on the heels of the White House’s major announcement of two new advanced manufacturing hubs, these cutting-edge photovoltaic technologies will undoubtedly continue to undergo robust research and development. Researchers, energy consultants, and electronics assemblies suppliers like Pittsburgh-based TMG are waiting in anxious anticipation to see where advanced nanotechnology takes us next! -Steve Fletcher, TMG Electronics