Researchers May Have Cracked the Code to Efficient Perovskite Solar Panels

Many in the scientific community believe that a mineral called perovskite is the future of solar cell technology. However, efficient perovskite solar panels have been out of reach — at least, until now. Recently, researchers have ‘cracked the code’, so to speak, on how to make these structures efficient enough to really compete with existing technologies.

It’s exciting news for anyone interested in the future of solar as an alternative energy source.

What is Perovskite?

Perovskite is a term for crystalline materials made up of the same kind of basic structure as calcium titanium oxide. Several perovskites occur naturally, including one called loparite and another oxide mineral simply named perovskite.

Confusing? The important thing is that perovskite materials have numerous unique properties that give them potential to be used in numerous technological applications. They are highly conductive and magnetoresistent, and are remarkably efficient as base materials in photovoltaics.

Creating Efficient Perovskite Solar Panels

Not all the sunlight that reaches a photovoltaic solar cell is converted into useable electricity. Much of the current research on solar technology concerns maximizing the conversion efficiency of a cell (which is calculated as the percentage of solar energy that becomes electricity). This innovation is necessary if solar is ever going to compete with conventional energy sources on a large scale.

When research on perovskite solar cells began in 2009, they showed a conversion efficiency of just 9%. However, further work has demonstrated the potential for this technology to surpass those expectations. In 2016, researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory made a discovery that could enable efficient perovskite solar panels to reach 31% efficiency.

Theoretically, 31% is the absolute limit of how efficient this technology could become. That would put it above silicon solar cells, which operate at roughly 22% efficiency today.

Put simply, the discovery related to the surface of the active perovskite layer in solar cells. Viewed under photoconductive atomic force microscopy, it was revealed that the material had a bumpy surface made up of grains with multi-angled facets. It turned out that the difference in efficiency between the different facets was huge — some approached the 31% ceiling, while others performed far below.

Essentially, each tiny facet on the surface of the material acts like its own miniature solar cell. Some are highly efficient, while others underperform. Each of these mini-cells contributes to the efficiency of a perovskite cell overall.

The next step, of course, would be to find ways to control the development of these facets in the process of manufacturing synthetic perovskite. That could be the key to unlocking the full potential of efficient perovskite solar cells.

5 Guidelines You Need To Know Before Purchasing A Powerbank

What do you do when your telephone dies on you when you are in a hurry? A few mobile phones have a bigger battery limit than others, and a few have more battery-proficient working frameworks than others, however, the battery will always run down. With no access to a charging station owhen you’re out and about, you won’t have the capacity to charge your phone. This is the point at which the powerbank charger proves to be useful. A powerbank is a convenient way that charges your cell phone when you connect it to. It dispenses battery charge with an electrical plug for times when you don’t have access to a charging station.


You should figure out: “Which one should I get?” Here are some helpful and solid tips to help you settle on a choice.


  1. Determine the battery life of your mobile phone

You can see your telephone battery limit just by looking at the number of Milli Ampere Hours (MAH) it has. You could also investigate online for your telephone battery limit if you don’t want to pry open your phone. However, one regularly ignored thing is that you can’t just measure exactly how frequently a powerbank can charge a telephone in light of MAH alone. This is a result of the warmth radiated from the charger, battery and alternate hardware that causes battery misfortune.


Furthermore, if the voltage of the charger is not sufficient for the phone being charged, it won’t work. In this way, the vital element to choose what powerbank for your gadget is the MAH the charger supplies, and the voltage.


  1. Choose the best manufacturer and reviews of the quality of the powerbank

A few organizations have a superior notoriety with regards to assembling powerbanks than others. This isn’t simple, yet organizations that improve the powerbanks regularly utilize higher quality battery cells, more dependable circuit chips that shield your telephone from short circuiting, and so on. The guideline is that you ought to pick a powerbank from the best manufacturer that obliges your telephone limit and yield voltage. Powerbanks from the best manufacturers, for the most part, don’t have issues. For example, intemperate warming, over-charging and that’s just the beginning. So choose the more legitimate brand and don’t agree to less.


  1. USB charging

Some powerbanks contain USB charging cable. Different models don’t have this component. Rather, they have a different cable that needs to be carried alongside the charger. If you are keen on efficiency, go for powerbanks that have already USB cables. If it’s all the same to you, the options are awesome. Since some of the organizations have began offering powerbanks with just USB ports on them and no cable attached, there are many choices on that front.


  1. Cost and quality

Since less expensive powerbanks from other organizations regularly utilize restored batteries instead of new ones, you would need to get a model with a reasonable value. Chinese makers, and so on are thinking of inexpensive powerbanks but have all the vital highlights, so you would be fine getting those for individual use.


  1. Size of the powerBank

The dimension is usually determined with the battery limit so if that powerbank looks too enormous for you, there are other options accessible with the correct limit, highlights, assemble, quality, and size.

How Canadian Companies Test for Marijuana Use

Though not common, some Canadian companies are allowed by law to test their employees for marijuana use in certain circumstances. The task of conducting and analyzing the test is typically performed by a laboratory that specializes in drug testing and not by the employer themselves. What follows is a brief explanation of how companies test for marijuana use in Canada.

Types of Drug Tests to Detect Marijuana

The primary methods of drug testing for marijuana use are through analysis of the test subject’s blood, urine, hair, or saliva. Of these, blood and urine drug tests are the most common in an employment situation.

A urine drug test or urainalysis screen the subject’s urine for the presence of either a drug or its metabolites (a substance that is produced when the body metabolizes the drug). In the case of marijuana, the test screens for non-psychoactive metabolites. Blood tests can flag the presence of active THC in the subject’s bloodstream.

How Accurate Are Tests for Marijuana Use?

The presence of THC and marijuana metabolites can be found in a person’s system for long after the last time they used the drug. How long depends on a number of factors, including the person’s metabolism and weight, whether they are a regular user, and the potency of the marijuana they consumed.

As a result, while drug tests can accurately detect whether someone has used marijuana in the past, it is difficult to test for recent use or intoxication.

DriverCheck’s Test for Marijuana Use

A positive drug test alone does not necessarily mean an employee is going to lose their job. Many people use medical marijuana as prescribed by a doctor, and employers are required to accommodate those needs to the point of undue hardship.

DriverCheck, a Canadian drug testing company, works with employers who require workers in safety-sensitive jobs to undertake drug tests. According to their website, DriverCheck’s test for marijuana use is accompanied by an independent report that takes into account the employee’s occupational history, medical history, and other factors in determining whether the worker can safely return to work.

The company says it will make different recommendations in different cases depending on the outcome of the report.

3 Real Ways People Cope With Dental Anxiety

Do you dread going to see the dentist? You’re not alone. Surveys estimate between 13 and 24 percent of people have some form of dental anxiety.

Fortunately, that also means people have come up with all kinds of real ways to cope with dental anxiety. Try one of these techniques the next time you’re facing the dental chair – you might just find one that works for you.

1. Laugh Before You Go In

Laughter is a proven form of stress relief. The act of laughing releases endorphins, gets your lungs to take in more oxygen-rich air, and aids muscle relaxation. Plus, it helps to take your mind off of distracting and troubling thoughts, like the ones that plague you in the waiting room.

When you head out for the dentist, bring along a pair of headphones and a laugh-out-loud TV show, audiobook or podcast on your phone. Try to have a laugh while you’re waiting to be called. This will help to prepare your mind and body for the task ahead.

2. Listen to Soothing Music

Music has a unique link to our emotions, making it a powerful stress management tool. It draws our attention away from gnawing anxiety, and can even slow our pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone levels.

Many dentists have caught onto this, and give patients the option of listening to soothing sounds while they’re in the chair. If that’s not available, ask your dentist whether you can listen to your own favourite tunes on your phone or mp3 player. This small effort can make a big difference in your stress level.

3. Ask Questions

Wait…what’s that tool for? Why’s it making that sound? Is this going to hurt?

For many people, fear of the unknown is a big part of dental anxiety. While we usually know what to expect from an appointment in general, the details are often a mystery until it’s well underway.

If you’re one to fret about dental work, it’s worth taking the time to ask the dental hygienist or dentist for more information. Knowing exactly what to expect can take a huge weight off your shoulders. A good provider will know it’s worth the extra few minutes.

5 Foods to Try for a Healthier Smile

food for a healthier smile

You can’t simply eat your way to a healthier smile (unfortunately), but what you put into your body does have an impact on oral health. You may be surprised to learn that some of the best foods for your teeth and gums are also pretty darn tasty! Here are five foods to try if you want a healthier smile.


No surprise here – leafy greens are the image of healthy eating, to the chagrin of sweet tooths everywhere. But they’re popular for a reason. Kale, spinach, cabbage, and other so-called “rabbit foods” are full of calcium, an essential nutrient in building your teeth’s enamel, which prevents sensitive teeth.

If you’re not a salad fan, there are subtler ways of sneaking leafy greens into your diet, like putting them in a smoothie. You could also use them as a pizza topping – which isn’t altogether bad for you, as you’ll see in the next point.


Cheese lovers are often dismayed to find this gooey goodness on the list of foods to avoid. But cheese offers benefits to oral health, and not just because it contains enamel-building calcium. Eating cheese raises the pH in your mouth, which helps prevent the effects of acids that cause tooth decay! So if you’re planning to indulge in something sweet, it’s not altogether a bad idea to top it off with a bite of cheese.


Ice-cream’s healthier cousin offers a welcome protein and calcium boost. Yogurt with active bacteria cultures (marketed as probiotics) adds ‘good’ bacteria to your mouth, which can take the place of the ‘bad’ bacteria that’ll give you cavities. However, be warned: much of the yogurt you’ll find on grocery store shelves is chock-full of sugar, which won’t go your mouth any good. In terms of health benefits, a low-fat, sugar-free yogurt is the snack of choice.


Yes, these tasty little nuts can get stuck between your teeth. However, if you’ve got a craving for chocolate, almonds are a far better alternative for your oral health. They’re low in sugar, high in calcium, and packed with protein. Just remember to floss after enjoying a handful.


Fruits like apples contain natural sugars. While they obviously contain less sugar than cake and candy, the sugar they do contain is no better for your teeth than the others. However, apples contain a lot of water, and chewing the fruit’s fibrous flesh stimulates saliva in your mouth, which helps to wash away any remaining sugars from your teeth. Finishing off your lunch with a few apple slices can actually help keep your teeth clean!


What’s the Best Part of Being a Dentist?

Dentists love being their own boss.
Dentists love being their own boss.

When it comes to careers, dentistry gets kind of a bad rap. Casual observers tend to focus on the low points of the job: the long hours, the fatigue, and, of course, the mess. But every job has its downsides, and if you’re passionate about what you do, working in a dental office is highly rewarding work.

The Joys of Dentistry

To start, dental practitioners do a lot of good for the world. They spend their days helping others improve their health, relieve pain, and become more confident in their lives. They get to meet folks from all levels of society and become part of the community. Dentists literally work hands-on to make people feel better, and they can see the results of their work in each patient’s smile.

Dianne Glasscoe sums it up well in this article: “The joy of changing a person’s life by creating a beautiful, healthy smile is one of the intangible rewards of being a dentist that can’t be measured.”

The opportunity to help people isn’t dentistry’s only draw. There’s also the work environment. Practicing dentists work as part of a team that includes dental hygienists, office staff, and fellow practitioners. It’s also a career with stability and good pay.

But the best part of the job?

Being Your Own Boss

According to this year’s Annual Practice Survey, it’s the ability to be your own boss. 47% of dentists who completed the survey said this was the most satisfying part of the job.

You choose which days you work, make your own hours, and decide how many patients to see each day. You have the freedom to do some procedures and refer other out. You select your own tools and materials. And you can determine, based on your own experiences, what your services are worth.

As Roger Levin wrote for Dentistry IQ, “There’s something to be said for working for yourself. You call the shots, you set the hours, and you reap the rewards.”

That’s not to say the job is easy. Running your own business always comes with challenges, and being your own boss takes a great deal of discipline and perseverance. But if you do it right, you can set yourself up for a lifelong, rewarding career.

How Dental Hygienists Can Help Patients With Dementia

More hygienists are coming into contact with patients who have dementia.
More hygienists are coming into contact with patients who have dementia.

With our aging population, it will soon be common for dental hygienists to encounter patients who suffer from a type of dementia. The most prevalent form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, currently affects over 5.2 million Americans who are 65 or older.

As the disease progresses, it can become increasingly difficult to provide dental care. Caregivers, hygienists, and dentists must work together to establish a treatment plan that suits each individual patient’s needs.


Why Dental Care is Important for Dementia Patients

When someone receives a dementia diagnosis, their oral health tends to take a back seat as the person and their family focuses on more pressing health issues. However, it’s important that a person with the disease continues to receive regular dental care, as the effects of dementia can cause new problems to develop and exacerbate existing dental issues.

One of the major components of the disease is short-term memory loss. A person who suffers from dementia may forget to brush their teeth or lose sight of why it’s important. In the middle to late stages of the disease, they may lose the ability to brush or loss their teeth without help. This can result in gum disease and tooth decay from oral neglect, which causes discomfort and puts the person at risk of infection.

Sometimes, the medications prescribed to a person with dementia can increase the potential for dental issues. Many patients use antidepressants and sedatives, which both have dry mouth as a side effect. The lack of saliva can lead to a build-up of plaque, increasing the risk of dental decay and gum disease. Syrup-based medications, like lactulose, can cause tooth decay due to the high sugar content.

Many older people also wear dentures, which accumulates plaque build up quickly.

Maintaining good oral health is an important part of a patient’s overall health. Having healthy gums and teeth makes it easier for a person to eat and digest food, which reduces the risk of malnutrition and improves their quality of life overall.


How Dental Hygienists Can Help

  • Understand the condition. There are several types and degrees of dementia, and different patients are living at different levels and progressions of the disease. If possible, find out about the patient’s condition ahead of time and learn what you can about their cognitive state.
  • Develop a good rapport with the patient. Before the appointment, take time to connect with the person (and their caregiver, if applicable) to put them at ease. This will help to avoid misinterpretations.
  • Be patient. Those with moderate to severe dementia may have a limited ability to follow instructions or communicate their needs. Don’t take it personally if you have to repeat yourself. It helps to break instructions down into small, easy steps (sit down, lean back, open your mouth, say “ah.”)
  • Keep constant communication. Short-term memory loss is a common feature of dementia. Be sure to reassure the patient and let them know what’s going on throughout the appointment.
  • Write it down. Whether the patient arrives with a caregiver or not, it’s important to write down your instructions and recommendations in case they forget.

The Link Between Dental Health and Mental Wellness

Studies show a clinical connection between a person's oral health and general well-being.
Studies show a clinical connection between a person’s oral health and general well-being.

There’s more to your smile than meets the eye.

It’s long been recognized that oral hygiene plays an important role in your overall health. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly helps to prevent cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and infections.

Now, there is a growing body of evidence that healthy teeth contribute to mental health and well-being as well.

A by the University of Manchester’s School of Dentistry confirmed the first clinical link between teeth and quality of life. Researchers surveyed adults with full or partial dentures and found the patients were more prone to mild forms of stress than people with natural teeth or dental implants. Those with dentures were also more likely to lack confidence in their appearance.

In another study by University College London, nearly one in three adults felt an improved smile would improve their confidence and help them overcome embarrassment about how they look. 46% of participants also believed an attractive smile was key to a better appearance.

For better or for worse, society puts a lot of stock in the appearance of your smile. We tend to associate a spotless, white smile with beauty and good health. And as social scientist Malcom Gladwell observed in his New Yorker piece, teeth have also become as a sign of social status. Since dental care is not covered by universal health care in either Canada or the United States, many people must pay for trips to the dentist out-of-pocket. Perfect teeth are a sign of wealth; bad teeth imply you lack the means or the knowledge to care for your oral health.

“Anxiety about their appearance means people quite literally cannot grin and bear it,” wrote Dr. Andrew McCance, a researcher in the UCL study. “Their embarrassment with their facial appearance has hampered their careers or stopped them forming relationships.”

No wonder people feel self-conscious about their smile.

It’s not to say that access to dental care would instantly boost a person’s confidence. Not everyone with bad teeth has poor self esteem, of course, and even those with a perfect smile still suffer from stress and low self-esteem. But there is clearly a link between teeth and mental wellness.

For many people, better oral health would be a big step in improving their overall health and wellness. These findings underline the importance of promoting good oral hygiene and providing access to dental care.

Why Isn’t There Universal Dental Care in Canada?

Almost half of all Canadians pay for dental care out-of-pocket.
Almost half of all Canadians pay for dental care out-of-pocket.

Suppose you wake up one morning with a splitting headache. In most cases, you can trust that the doctor will treat your condition regardless of your ability to pay. After all, Canada’s universal health care system (called Medicare) provides equal access to medical services for all Canadians.

That is, unless, the pain stems from a toothache.

People outside Canada are often surprised to learn that our universal health care system stops where the teeth meet the gums.

Dental care in Canada is almost entirely privately-funded, with 51% coming from employment-based dental insurance and 44% paid out-of-pocket. The remaining 5% consists of the few Canadians who receive support from the federal or provincial government, like low-income children, members of the armed forces, and some aboriginal groups.

Unfortunately, this system leaves millions of Canadians without the care they need, including the ones who need it most. Almost half of all Canadians without dental insurance (over six million people) skip going to the dentist due to the cost.

Immigrants, the elderly, children, and adults working low income jobs are most likely to avoid the dentist for this reason. They are also the groups most likely to have problems with tooth and gum disease due to limited access to healthy foods, which increases the risk of other health problems like diabetes.

That means those who are most in need of dental treatment are least likely to be able to get it.


Why Canada Doesn’t Pay for Dental Care

When Canada created Medicare back in 1966, legislators did consider including dental care as part of the system. However, social and economic forces kept dental care in the private realm.

Dentists lobbied for a private system, arguing a lack of human resources and a desire to keep the government out of the patient-practitioner relationship. The government anticipated the cost of universal dental care in Canada would be too high, as the U.K. saw 16% of the population seek dental treatment when it was brought into the National Health Service. There were also alternatives, like water fluoridation, that could help promote good oral health for less cost.

For these reasons, the government left dental treatment out of the universal health care system.

Today, there is some public assistance available. All provinces and territories pay for in-hospital dental surgery, and some have prevention programs for children. Still, Canada spends just $700 million on publicly funded dental care each year, one of the lowest rates in the world.

Universal dental care would be a massive undertaking in Canada. In the meantime, the government should do more to ensure everyone has reasonable access to dental care. For example, putting more public dental clinics in hospitals and community health centers could help fill the gaps in access to treatment. More financing for vulnerable groups, like low-income children, could treat and prevent dental issues before they become serious and costly issues.

Advances in Scientific Testing

Genetic testing has entered popular consciousness with the emergence of detailed knowledge about the human genome. Whether it is deciding the paternity of a contested child, or looking out for early signs of hereditary disease, genetics are now at the leading edge of medical science, replacing more old fashioned methods like blood testing with a surprising efficiency. As is the case with any advance in science, it has affected the way people approach their health.

The Internet is flooded with offers of cheap DNA testing. These kits claim to offer a reliable paternity test that makes the process easy and painless, for under 100. At the chemists, a DNA testing kit can be bought for a period of less than half of this price. As DNA testing becomes more popular, many are tempted by these bargain rates.

The ease of access to the kits is a key element in their popularity. Paternity testing isn’t always about legal rights, but for the peace of mind of either or both parent: their proliferation is a reflection of how important this security is.

A slight change of direction..

There are a few drawbacks to the cheap DNA testing decision. First of all, the cheap DNA testing that can be brought over the counter isn’t the same thing as a paternity test that can stand up as evidence in a tribunal of law. Despite the high drama of shows like Jeremy Kyle, where a DNA test seems to prove paternity, only an approved test by a doctor is recognised by judges.

There is also the issue of accuracy. In the last few years, genetics have become the key area of scientific research, and so it’s become fashionable to search for genetic solutions to medical and social problems. Nevertheless, cheap DNA testing often cuts corners, not checking against all the variables, and offering a less than a hundred per cent accuracy. While this might be fine in most cases, the fraught nature of a paternity test isn’t a site for margins of error.

The accuracy of the genetic test procedures is one of the themes of debate in the scientific community. All medical testing has the potential for laboratory errors. The errors can be due to sample misidentification, chemical contamination, and human errors.

Scientific Testing; There’s Even More……

The possibility of having inaccurate results with genetic tests can lead to serious consequences. Consequently, genetic tests are considered services by the FDA. Thus, no regulations are provided for the assessment of the accuracy and dependability of gene testing procedures. The lack of oversight on the part of the government is the cause of the concern over the accuracy of the results of such tests.

The difference always comes down to the thoroughness of the procedure. Anyone considering DNA testing would do well to examine the technology being used. There is also the issue of additional, hidden costs: the over the counter kit might be tempting, but it often charges extra for analysis.

The biggest differences in DNA testing don’t necessarily come with the actual kit: it is the aftercare that counts. The turnaround time can be different-the significance of this, of course, is contingent on the urgency of the situation.

DNA testing works by comparing the parents’ DNA to the child ‘s, identifying a consistent pattern in the chain of four constituent bases. Some DNA testing kits add additional steps, check more genetic regions or have a specialist approach when treating the DNA. These, however, aren’t always taken into account in the price: yet they’ll impact on accuracy.

Ultimately, a DNA testing kit is most effective if it tests both the mother and the potential father: in many case, this makes the test absolutely accurate.