Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Solar Cell Researcher Explores Nanotech Possibilities: National Science Foundation Grant Aids Quest for Low-Cost, Flexible Solution

A researcher holds a sample of prototyped solar cells. The inset is an electron micrograph of the nanostructures.
A researcher holds a sample of prototyped solar cells. The inset is an electron micrograph of the nanostructures.

Abstract:
A UT Dallas researcher envisions a time soon when plastic sheets of solar cells are inexpensively stamped out in factories and then affixed to cell phones, laptops and other power-hungry mobile devices.

And a new $330,000 grant from the National Science Foundation should help him come closer to realizing that vision.

Solar Cell Researcher Explores Nanotech Possibilities: National Science Foundation Grant Aids Quest for Low-Cost, Flexible Solution

Dallas, TX | Posted on October 5th, 2009

Many researchers are investigating the development of flexible solar cells in hopes of improving efficiency and lowering manufacturing costs, however Walter Hu's novel approach would use nanoimprint lithography to produce precisely nanostructured devices rather than using chemical methods of manufacturing.

Nanoimprinting is an emerging technology that's been used to produce various electronic and optical devices by imprinting the pattern from a mold onto a surface. But Dr. Hu's team is exploring how the thermal imprinting can not only impart a pattern to the solar cell material but also change properties of the material in ways that maximize light absorption, increasing the efficiency of the resulting cells well beyond what anyone has done to date with these so-called organic solar cells.

That requires exploring all of the interrelated properties of the solar cell material's plastic polymer surface (such as crystallinity, molecular orientation, stability and thermal dynamics) and their correlation with geometry, imprint conditions, surface effects and the quantum efficiency of the resulting solar cells.

"Scientifically, we would like to understand - materials-wise, engineering-wise - how we can solve the problem of engineering materials at the nanoscale to improve solar cell performance," said Dr. Hu, an assistant professor of electrical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UT Dallas.

Understanding these basic questions is important to developing new methods to improve the power conversion efficiency as well as the stability of next-generation solar cells, he added.

His team is collaborating with J.C. Hummelen at the University of Groningen, Netherlands, who is internationally recognized for the creation of PCBM, a popular nanomaterial for organic solar cells. Dr. Hummelen will customize those materialls to fit the nanoimprint process. Dr. Hu's group also works closely with Anvar Zakhidov, a renowned expert in solar cells at the UT Dallas Nanotech Institute, to study various material systems and device architectures.

Dr. Hu's team is also addressing energy payback, which is the time needed once a solar-cell system is operable to both recover the amount of energy used to manufacture it and offset carbon emissions from that manufacturing.

Conventional silicon-based solar cells are manufacturing-intensive. The energy payback for these systems is two to four years. The organic solar cells his team is developing would have an energy payback that can be measured in a few months.

"The fundamental science of this project is very interesting to us," he said. "Plus it's a great
project for training graduate students to do advanced engineering research."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
David Moore
UT Dallas
(972) 883-4183


Office of Media Relations
UT Dallas
(972) 883-2155

Copyright © UT Dallas

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

Three-dimensional graphene: Experiment at BESSY II shows that optical properties are tuneable May 24th, 2017

Leti to Demo 1st Wireless UNB Transceiver for ‘Massive Internet of Things’ at RFIC 2017 and IMS 2017: Leti Will also Present Three Papers & Two Workshops on 5G Communications IC Design, from RF to mm-Wave, During IMS 2017 and RFIC 2017 in Hawaii May 24th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Chengdu Partner to Expand FD-SOI Ecosystem in China: More than $100M investment to establish a center of excellence for FDXTM FD-SOI design May 23rd, 2017

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries: Rice University prototypes store 3 times the energy of lithium-ion batteries May 19th, 2017

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

Oddball enzyme provides easy path to synthetic biomaterials May 17th, 2017

Announcements

Three-dimensional graphene: Experiment at BESSY II shows that optical properties are tuneable May 24th, 2017

Leti to Demo 1st Wireless UNB Transceiver for ‘Massive Internet of Things’ at RFIC 2017 and IMS 2017: Leti Will also Present Three Papers & Two Workshops on 5G Communications IC Design, from RF to mm-Wave, During IMS 2017 and RFIC 2017 in Hawaii May 24th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Chengdu Partner to Expand FD-SOI Ecosystem in China: More than $100M investment to establish a center of excellence for FDXTM FD-SOI design May 23rd, 2017

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Energy

Three-dimensional graphene: Experiment at BESSY II shows that optical properties are tuneable May 24th, 2017

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

Fed grant backs nanofiber development: Rice University joins Department of Energy 'Next Generation Machines' initiative May 10th, 2017

Discovery of new transparent thin film material could improve electronics and solar cells: Conductivity is highest-ever for thin film oxide semiconductor material May 6th, 2017

Grants/Sponsored Research/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Gas gives laser-induced graphene super properties: Rice University study shows inexpensive material can be superhydrophilic or superhydrophobic May 15th, 2017

Fed grant backs nanofiber development: Rice University joins Department of Energy 'Next Generation Machines' initiative May 10th, 2017

'Hot' electrons don't mind the gap: Rice University scientists find nanogaps in plasmonic gold wires enhance voltage when excited May 8th, 2017

Solar/Photovoltaic

Three-dimensional graphene: Experiment at BESSY II shows that optical properties are tuneable May 24th, 2017

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

Fed grant backs nanofiber development: Rice University joins Department of Energy 'Next Generation Machines' initiative May 10th, 2017

Discovery of new transparent thin film material could improve electronics and solar cells: Conductivity is highest-ever for thin film oxide semiconductor material May 6th, 2017

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