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Arresting executives will destabilise market: CZI – NewsDay

BY KUDZAI KUWAZA/ARNOLD FANDISO

THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) yesterday warned against the arrest of business leaders over alleged currency violations saying this will sour relations between government and business which could lead to a collapse of the local currency.

The statement came after revelations that government intends to arrest top executives of up to 20 big companies following a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) investigation into alleged abuse of foreign currency procured from the auction system.

The auction system was set up in June last year to avail cheap forex to companies to increase productivity.

The crackdown has been prompted by the widening disparity between the official rate of $90:US$1 and the parallel market rate which has shot past the $180 mark.

In a statement yesterday, CZI president Kurai Matsheza warned that arresting business leaders would cause chaos on the market and erode consumer confidence in government policies.

“The arrest of business leaders will only serve to destabilise the relationship between business and authorities as the two need to work together to re-industrialise the economy in pursuit of Vision 2030,” Matsheza said.

“Fear will drive business decision-making as has happened with the 2007 arrests with resultant shortages as companies could not find other ways of funding their forex requirements legitimately.“

He added that a heavy-handed approach to a problem that had its cause squarely in sub-optimal policy implementation that was creating arbitrage opportunities that were unsettling markets.

Matsheza said it was the view of the business lobby group that the measures which were agreed this week when business met with the RBZ governor John Mangudya should be given time to take effect.

Meanwhile, the RBZ Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) yesterday ordered banks to identify and report abuse of accounts and debit cards by foreign currency dealers to facilitate their closure.

In a statement yesterday, the FIU director-general Oliver Chiperesa urged banks to report the culprits before October 18, 2021, saying they were eager to perform their obligations as stipulated in anti-money-laundering laws.

Early this month, RBZ published lists of illegal foreign currency dealers abusing mobile money transfer facilities, blacklisted them, and barred them from using financial and mobile telecommunication services.

Chiperesa said the FIU had noted an increase in abuse of debit cards linked to Zimbabwe dollar-denominated bank accounts.

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New technique paves the way for perfect perovskites – Phys.org

New technique paves the way for perfect perovskites
A new technique at the Advanced Light Source reveals what happens (from left to right) in the second before, during, and after a drop of a solidifying agent transforms a liquid precursor solution into a perovskite solar material. Credit: Berkeley Lab

An exciting new solar material called organic-inorganic halide perovskites could one day help the U.S. achieve its solar ambitions and decarbonize the power grid. One thousand times thinner than silicon, perovskite solar materials can be tuned to respond to different colors of the solar spectrum simply by altering their composition mix.

Typically fabricated from organic molecules such as methylammonium and inorganic metal halides such as lead iodide, hybrid perovskite solar materials have a high tolerance for defects in their molecular structure and absorb more efficiently than silicon, the solar industry’s standard.

Altogether, these qualities make perovskites promising active layers not only in photovoltaics (technologies that convert light into electricity), but also in other types of electronic devices that respond to or control light including light-emitting diodes (LEDs), detectors, and lasers.

“Although perovskites offer great potential for greatly expanding solar power, they have yet to be commercialized because their reliable synthesis and long-term stability has long challenged scientists,” said Carolin Sutter-Fella, a scientist at the Molecular Foundry, a nanoscience user facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). “Now, a path to perfect perovskites may soon be within reach.”

A recent Nature Communications study co-led by Sutter-Fella reports that solar materials manufacturing could be aided by a sophisticated new instrument that uses two types of light—invisible X-ray light and visible laser light—to probe a perovskite material’s crystal structure and optical properties as it is synthesized.

“When people make solar thin films, they typically have a dedicated synthesis lab and need to go to another lab to characterize it. With our development, you can fully synthesize and characterize a material at the same time, at the same place,” she said.

Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

For this work, Sutter-Fella assembled an international team of top scientists and engineers to equip an X-ray beamline endstation with a laser at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS).

The new instrument’s highly intense X-ray light allows researchers to probe the perovskite material’s crystal structure and unveil details about fast chemical processes. For example, it can be used to characterize what happens in the second before and after a drop of a solidifying agent transforms a liquid precursor solution into a solid thin film.

At the same time, its laser can be used to create electrons and holes (electrical charge carriers) in the thin film, allowing the scientists to observe a solar material’s response to , whether as a finished product or during the intermediate stages of material synthesis. 

“Equipping an X-ray beamline endstation with a laser empowers users to probe these complementary properties simultaneously,” explained Sutter-Fella.

This combination of simultaneous measurements could become part of an automated workflow to monitor the production of perovskites and other functional materials in real time for process and quality control. 

Perovskite films are typically made by spin coating, an affordable technique that doesn’t require expensive equipment or complicated chemical setups. And the case for perovskites gets even brighter when you consider how energy-intensive it is just to manufacture silicon into a solar device—silicon requires a processing temperature of about 2,732 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, perovskites are easily processed from solution at room temperature to just 302 degrees Fahrenheit.

Perovskite films are typically made by spin coating, an affordable technique that doesn’t require expensive equipment or complicated chemical setups. Credit: Shambhavi Pratap

The beamline endstation allows researchers to observe what happens during synthesis, and in particular during the first few seconds of spin coating, a critical time window during which the precursor solution slowly begins to solidify into a thin film.

First author Shambhavi Pratap, who specializes in the use of X-rays to study thin-film solar energy materials, played a critical role in developing the instrument as an ALS doctoral fellow. She recently completed her doctoral studies in the Müller-Buschbaum group at the Technical University of Munich.

“The instrument will allow researchers to document how small things that are usually taken for granted can have a big impact on material quality and performance,” Pratap said. 

“To make reproducible and efficient solar cells at low cost, everything matters,” Sutter-Fella said. She added that the study was a team effort that spanned a wide range of scientific disciplines.

The work is the latest chapter in a body of work for which Sutter-Fella was awarded a Berkeley Lab Early Career Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Award in 2017.

“We know that the research community is interested in using this new capability at the ALS,” she said. “Now we want to make it user friendly so that more people can take advantage of this endstation.”


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More information:
Shambhavi Pratap et al, Out-of-equilibrium processes in crystallization of organic-inorganic perovskites during spin coating, Nature Communications (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-25898-5

Citation:
New technique paves the way for perfect perovskites (2021, October 19)
retrieved 19 October 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-10-technique-paves-perovskites.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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Instagram will finally let you create posts on the desktop – Engadget

It took years, but Instagram will finally let you create posts from the desktop web. The social network is issuing a flurry of updates that will culminate on October 21st, when users worldwide will have the option of posting photos and short videos (under one minute) from their computer browser. That’s helpful if you’d rather not reach for your phone, of course, but it could be particularly useful for businesses and enthusiasts that want to make better use of their expensive cameras.

There are plenty of updates for mobile users, too. A Collabs test feature available today (October 19th) lets two people co-author posts and Reels. You just have to invite someone else from the tagging screen to get them involved. Followers for both users will see the post, and it’ll even share views, likes and comments. It’s safe to say this could be valuable for everything from superstar team-ups to sponsored posts.

Another test coming on October 20th will let you start nonprofit fundraisers right from the new post button, simplifying charity efforts. Everyone will see new music-driven Reels effects on October 21st, including Superbeat (special effects in sync with the beat) and Dynamic Lyrics (3D lyrics that flow with the track). They’re not as flashy as the other additions, but they may help you focus on sharing content rather than editing it.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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NIST pH standard reference materials supports one of manufacturing's most measured properties – Phys.org

NIST pH standard reference materials supports one of manufacturing's most measured properties
Credit: National Institute of Standards and Technology

NIST has released a pH reference material in a uniquely stable form for calibrating the instruments used by a wide variety of manufacturers. pH is one of the most measured properties during the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, consumer products like detergents and toiletries, and commodity chemicals.

Aqueous solutions (solutions of water plus other dissolved substances) are required for many industrial processes, some of which require a specific pH. The measurement of pH indicates whether the solution is basic or acidic. Solutions below 7 on the fourteen-point pH scale are acidic; while solutions above 7 are basic. With a pH of 12, Standard Reference Material 2193b is the most basic, or alkaline, of any of the NIST reference materials for calibrating the electrodes used for measurements of pH.

NIST provides its reference materials for calibrating electrodes used in pH measurements as powders, which were carefully selected to ensure long-term stability. Each unit of SRM 2193b is 30 grams of calcium carbonate, a common substance found in limestone and shells, provided in powder form with detailed instructions for how to transform it into a saturated aqueous solution of calcium hydroxide for instrument calibration. NIST provides Certified Values, meaning that NIST has the highest confidence that all known or suspected sources of measurement bias have been evaluated, of the pH of the solution at temperatures from 5 °C to 50 °C.


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NIST reference material helps assure accurate measurement of tobacco product constituents


Citation:
NIST pH standard reference materials supports one of manufacturing’s most measured properties (2021, October 19)
retrieved 19 October 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-10-nist-ph-standard-materials-properties.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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