Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > UC Merced Professor Receives $1.3 Million National Science Foundation Grant

School of Natural Sciences professor David Kelley received a $1.3M grant to improve luminescent solar concentrators.
School of Natural Sciences professor David Kelley received a $1.3M grant to improve luminescent solar concentrators.

Abstract:
David Kelley and colleagues will attempt to improve luminescent solar concentrators, used to channel solar energy

UC Merced Professor Receives $1.3 Million National Science Foundation Grant

Merced, CA | Posted on October 6th, 2009

For years, University of California, Merced, professor David Kelley's research has focused on finding a less expensive method to harness and use solar energy.

While the sun has been used to power small devices such as calculators or landscape lighting, using solar energy on a large-scale basis is costly.

"The technology is good, but it's expensive," said Kelley. "The idea is to make solar energy more practical."

School of Natural Sciences professor Kelley, along with two other UC Merced colleagues, will attempt to do just that by improving existing technology. He received a three-year $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) that use materials other than silicon as semiconductors.

For his research, Kelley will attempt to improve a device called a luminescent solar concentrator. These concentrators work by absorbing sunlight across a wide area then re-emitting it onto a small photovoltaic cell. It's less expensive to use luminescent solar concentrators because they don't have moving parts that must track light as the sun moves across the sky.

"UC Merced is pleased that the National Science Foundation recognizes the potential of professor Kelley's work," said Samuel Traina, vice chancellor for research and dean of graduate studies. "Research in this area will contribute significantly to reducing costs associated with solar power generation that could, in turn, lead to wider applications of the technology."

While the sun is an inexhaustible, renewable energy source, using it to produce electricity is expensive for two reasons. First, photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into electricity, are made with silicon, an expensive material to use because of the steps needed to remove impurities. Second, many of those expensive solar cells are needed to collect that energy in order to convert it into electricity.

A problem with existing luminescent solar concentrators - made of solar cells, along with glass or plastic and dye molecules that serve to concentrate the light - is that the dyes are organic and don't hold up over time, Kelley explained. Another challenge is that when sunlight bounces around in the plastic, a lot of it gets reabsorbed into the dye molecules and ends up emitted as heat. That energy never makes it to the solar cell.

Kelley, along with professors Valerie Leppert and Boaz Ilan, will attempt to develop new kinds of luminescent solar concentrators, based on nanotechnology. They will develop semiconductor nanorods to use in solar concentrators, replacing organic dyes. The semiconductor nanorods are cylindrical sections of semiconductors, about 1/1000 the diameter of a human hair.

"Our research will develop the physics to understand how these semiconductors can get rid of the problems of self-absorption," Kelley said. "This has the potential to be a transformative technology in solar energy research."

Leppert, an associate professor in the School of Engineering, will use state-of-the-art equipment such as electron microscopes at UC Merced and at the National Center for Electron Microscopy to examine the synthetic materials' properties and whether they can be optimally used in a solar concentrator.

Using information provided by Kelley and Leppert, School of Natural Sciences assistant professor Ilan, will use mathematic models to theorize how the solar concentrators will perform with the nanorods.

"The hope is that over the three years, we will be able to develop a semiconductor that will do what we want it to do," Kelley said, "or, we'll have a more clear understanding of why we can't."

Professors Kelley and Ilan are both members of the UC Merced Energy Research Institute (UCMERI). UCMERI is a multidisciplinary institute that develops new and improved renewable and sustainable energy generation and storage technologies.

####

About UC Merced
UCMERI's faculty members include mechanical engineers, materials scientists, physicists, environmental engineers, biochemists, computer scientists and social scientists from the Schools of Engineering, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts.

UCMERI's mission also includes setting the standard for institutional energy efficiency, examining domestic and global energy policy and educating the next generation of energy scholars and practitioners.

For more information, please click here

Copyright © UC Merced

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

Halas wins American Chemical Society Award in Colloid Chemistry: Rice University nanophotonics pioneer honored for colloid research September 18th, 2018

Leti & EFI Aim to Dramatically Improve Reliability & Speed of Low-Cost Electronic Devices for Autos: Project Will Extend Model Predictive Control Technique to Microcontrollers, Digital Signal Processors and Other Devices that Lack Powerful Computation Capabilities September 18th, 2018

Researchers managed to prevent the disappearing of quantum information September 14th, 2018

Tiny camera lens may help link quantum computers to network September 14th, 2018

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Researchers managed to prevent the disappearing of quantum information September 14th, 2018

New photonic chip promises more robust quantum computers September 14th, 2018

Could a demon help to create a quantum computer? Physicists implement a version of Maxwell's famous thought experiment for reducing entropy September 5th, 2018

Ultracold atoms used to verify 1963 prediction about 1D electrons: Rice University, University of Geneva study focuses on theory that's increasingly relevant to chipmakers September 5th, 2018

Announcements

Halas wins American Chemical Society Award in Colloid Chemistry: Rice University nanophotonics pioneer honored for colloid research September 18th, 2018

Leti & EFI Aim to Dramatically Improve Reliability & Speed of Low-Cost Electronic Devices for Autos: Project Will Extend Model Predictive Control Technique to Microcontrollers, Digital Signal Processors and Other Devices that Lack Powerful Computation Capabilities September 18th, 2018

New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers: Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide September 14th, 2018

New photonic chip promises more robust quantum computers September 14th, 2018

Energy

S, N co-doped carbon nanotube-encapsulated CoS2@Co: Efficient and stable catalysts for water splitting September 10th, 2018

September 5th, 2018

Rice U. lab probes molecular limit of plasmonics: Optical effect detailed in organic molecules with fewer than 50 atoms September 5th, 2018

Producing hydrogen from splitting water without splitting hairs: New model explains interactions between small copper clusters used as low-cost catalysts in the production of hydrogen by breaking down water molecules August 31st, 2018

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

Halas wins American Chemical Society Award in Colloid Chemistry: Rice University nanophotonics pioneer honored for colloid research September 18th, 2018

New photonic chip promises more robust quantum computers September 14th, 2018

A Comprehensive Guide: The Future of Nanotechnology September 13th, 2018

Rice U. lab probes molecular limit of plasmonics: Optical effect detailed in organic molecules with fewer than 50 atoms September 5th, 2018

Solar/Photovoltaic

September 5th, 2018

NUST MISIS scientists present metamaterial for solar cells and nanooptics July 23rd, 2018

Northwestern researchers achieve unprecedented control of polymer grids: Materials could find applications in water purification, solar energy storage, body armor June 22nd, 2018

Team achieves two-electron chemical reactions using light energy, gold May 15th, 2018

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project