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Sunlight is widely regarded as the most abundant energy source on Earth.  It is clean, free, renewable, and it depletes no fossil fuels.For these reasons, scientists have spent many years developing ways to convert sunlight into a usable form of energy.  Current methods of conversion, however, are inefficient and expensive. Researchers at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion are working on the next generation of solar energy applications. They have developed a method to use visible light for hydrogen fuel production.

By Wendy Pitlick Black Hills Pioneer SPEARFISH — Officials with the Sanford Lab and Black Hills State University have announced plans to combine resources to create a $4.2 million Sanford Science Education Center on the BHSU campus. On Wednesday, the Sanford Underground Research Facility, which is owned and operated by the S.D. Science and Technology Authority, announced that it would donate $2.5 million to help renovate the Jonas Science building at Black Hills State University into the Sanford Science Education Center. Black Hills State University will add another $1.7 million to that.

Eleven undergraduate students and student teams statewide traveled to Pierre, S.D., to showcase research projects at the 16th annual South Dakota Student Research Poster Session at the Capitol Rotunda Feb. 27. The poster session gave the students an opportunity to share their research with state legislators, state officials and the public, giving them a first-hand look at the highlights of their efforts and the importance of research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Outcome/Impact/benefits: This research has focused on the development and direct write printing of thin polymer films impregnated with silver and upconverting nanoparticles. Such thin polymer films could be used for luminescent solar concentrators, as well as having possible applications in security printing and energy harvesting.

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