Quantum Dots
Quantum dots have been deemed the future of everything from light bulbs, to displays and solar panels. Yet, one thing has been keeping them down -- a lack of efficiency. Current has a tendency to leak in between the dots, instead of passing straight through all the time. But, researchers at Harvard have found a possible solution. By surrounding the dots with an insulating layer of aluminum oxide, which hugs them like an egg carton, they were able to direct the current, greatly increasing the light-emission yield and reducing wasted electricity. Of course, this only applies to light-producing quantum dots at the moment, but it's possible it could eventually be applied to solar panels and increase the amount of energy harvested from the sun's rays. If you're scientifically inclined, check out the latest issue of Advanced Materials for the complete research paper.