Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Carbon nanotubes could make efficient solar cells

In a carbon nanotube-based photodiode, electrons (blue) and holes (red) - the positively charged areas where electrons used to be before becoming excited - release their excess energy to efficiently create more electron-hole pairs when light is shined on the device.
In a carbon nanotube-based photodiode, electrons (blue) and holes (red) - the positively charged areas where electrons used to be before becoming excited - release their excess energy to efficiently create more electron-hole pairs when light is shined on the device.

Abstract:
Using a carbon nanotube instead of traditional silicon, Cornell researchers have created the basic elements of a solar cell that hopefully will lead to much more efficient ways of converting light to electricity than now used in calculators and on rooftops.

Carbon nanotubes could make efficient solar cells

Ithica, NY | Posted on September 10th, 2009

The researchers fabricated, tested and measured a simple solar cell called a photodiode, formed from an individual carbon nanotube. Reported online Sept. 11 in the journal Science, the researchers -- led by Paul McEuen, the Goldwin Smith Professor of Physics, and Jiwoong Park, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology -- describe how their device converts light to electricity in an extremely efficient process that multiplies the amount of electrical current that flows. This process could prove important for next-generation high efficiency solar cells, the researchers say.

"We are not only looking at a new material, but we actually put it into an application -- a true solar cell device," said first author Nathan Gabor, a graduate student in McEuen's lab.

The researchers used a single-walled carbon nanotube, which is essentially a rolled-up sheet of graphene, to create their solar cell. About the size of a DNA molecule, the nanotube was wired between two electrical contacts and close to two electrical gates, one negatively and one positively charged. Their work was inspired in part by previous research in which scientists created a diode, which is a simple transistor that allows current to flow in only one direction, using a single-walled nanotube. The Cornell team wanted to see what would happen if they built something similar, but this time shined light on it.

Shining lasers of different colors onto different areas of the nanotube, they found that higher levels of photon energy had a multiplying effect on how much electrical current was produced.

Further study revealed that the narrow, cylindrical structure of the carbon nanotube caused the electrons to be neatly squeezed through one by one. The electrons moving through the nanotube became excited and created new electrons that continued to flow. The nanotube, they discovered, may be a nearly ideal photovoltaic cell because it allowed electrons to create more electrons by utilizing the spare energy from the light.

This is unlike today's solar cells, in which extra energy is lost in the form of heat, and the cells require constant external cooling.

Though they have made a device, scaling it up to be inexpensive and reliable would be a serious challenge for engineers, Gabor said.

"What we've observed is that the physics is there," he said.

The research was supported by Cornell's Center for Nanoscale Systems and the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility, both National Science Foundation facilities, as well as the Microelectronics Advanced Research Corporation Focused Research Center on Materials, Structures and Devices. Research collaborators also included Zhaohui Zhong, of the University of Michigan, and Ken Bosnick, of the National Institute for Nanotechnology at University of Alberta.

####

About Cornell University
Once called "the first American university" by educational historian Frederick Rudolph, Cornell University represents a distinctive mix of eminent scholarship and democratic ideals. Adding practical subjects to the classics and admitting qualified students regardless of nationality, race, social circumstance, gender, or religion was quite a departure when Cornell was founded in 1865.

Today's Cornell reflects this heritage of egalitarian excellence. It is home to the nation's first colleges devoted to hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine. Both a private university and the land-grant institution of New York State, Cornell University is the most educationally diverse member of the Ivy League.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Contact:
Blaine Friedlander
(607) 254-8093


Cornell Chronicle:
Anne Ju
(607) 255-9735

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Energy Research Facility Construction Project at Brookhaven Lab Wins U.S. Energy Secretary's Achievement Award April 16th, 2014

Malvern reports on the publication of the 1000th peer-reviewed paper to cite NanoSight’s Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis, NTA April 16th, 2014

Targeting cancer with a triple threat: MIT chemists design nanoparticles that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time April 15th, 2014

Biologists Develop Nanosensors to Visualize Movements and Distribution of Plant Stress Hormone April 15th, 2014

Possible Futures

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Surface Characteristics Influence Cellular Growth on Semiconductor Material March 12th, 2014

The "Tipping Point" February 12th, 2014

Nanotubes/Buckyballs

Effects of Carbon Nanotubes Studied on Pregnant Mothers April 12th, 2014

Nanotech Business Review 2013-2014 April 9th, 2014

Scientists Succeed in Simultaneous Determination of Acetaminophen, Codeine in Drug Samples April 9th, 2014

Rebar technique strengthens case for graphene: Rice University lab makes hybrid nanotube-graphene material that promises to simplify manufacturing April 7th, 2014

Announcements

Energy Research Facility Construction Project at Brookhaven Lab Wins U.S. Energy Secretary's Achievement Award April 16th, 2014

Malvern reports on the publication of the 1000th peer-reviewed paper to cite NanoSight’s Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis, NTA April 16th, 2014

Targeting cancer with a triple threat: MIT chemists design nanoparticles that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time April 15th, 2014

Biologists Develop Nanosensors to Visualize Movements and Distribution of Plant Stress Hormone April 15th, 2014

Solar/Photovoltaic

A molecular approach to solar power: Switchable material could harness the power of the sun — even when it’s not shining April 15th, 2014

Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells: Photovoltaic solar-panel windows could be next for your house April 14th, 2014

Scientists open door to better solar cells, superconductors and hard-drives: Research enhances understanding of materials interfaces April 14th, 2014

Better solar cells, better LED light and vast optical possibilities April 12th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE