Among other things, the Palo Alto-based Nanosys (www.nanosysinc.com) develops nanotechnology-enabled fuel cells used in portable electronics. These fuel cells could power laptop computers, cellphones, or cameras, for example.
In conjunction with companies such as Sharp Electronics, Nanosys is exploring ways for higher-energy density fuel cells to overcome the limitations of traditional batteries, making for longer energy life for portable electronics. They are also working with the United States government on nanotechnology-enabled solar-cell development. A privately held company, Nanosys doesn't stop with energy products. The company holds about 300 patents in nanotechnology, and has partnered with companies such as Intel and Dupont to develop products in optical electronics, communications, and defense.
Konarka Technologies (http://konarka.com) produces solar panels with a difference: Their light-activated "power plastic," which contains titanium oxide nanoparticles coated with a dye, is cheaper to produce and more lightweight than solar panels. This material also uses more of the light spectrum than traditional solar cells so it can store energy from any light source, not just the sun. But Konarka doesn't stop at solar panels; they expect to use their "power plastic" in applications such as cases for cellphones and laptops to save you the trouble of plugging them into the wall to recharge their batteries.
Other companies energizing the world with nanotechnology are
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