Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Nanoparticle breakthrough could improve solar cells

Precision-crafted nanoparticles could
enable photovoltaic cells to harness a
much bigger chunk of the sunís energy.
Precision-crafted nanoparticles could enable photovoltaic cells to harness a much bigger chunk of the sunís energy.

Abstract:
The sun may soon power many more homes and appliances, thanks to chemists at Idaho National Laboratory and Idaho State University. They have invented a way to manufacture highly precise, uniform nanoparticles to order. The technology, which won an R&D 100 Award this year, has the potential to vastly improve photovoltaic cells and further spur the growing nanotech revolution.

Nanoparticle breakthrough could improve solar cells

Idaho Falls, ID | Posted on October 29th, 2009

INL chemist Bob Fox and his ISU colleagues were looking for a better way to make semiconducting nanoparticles for solar cells. When the researchers introduced "supercritical" carbon dioxide ó CO2 that behaves like both a gas and a liquid ó to their reactions, they generated high-quality nanoparticles at low, energy-saving temperatures. And, surprisingly, the nanoparticles were incredibly uniform.

With subsequent tweaking, the team figured out how to make nanoparticles of prescribed sizes ó anywhere from 1 to 100 nanometers ó with unprecedented precision. Because the properties of nanoparticles are so strongly size-dependent, the implications of this breakthrough are vast.

The new methodology could lead to more efficient solar cells, for example. Photovoltaic cells generate electricity when incoming photons knock electrons loose from atoms of a semiconducting material. The energy required to free these electrons ó called the band gap ó is specific to each material and corresponds to a mere sliver of the sun's radiation spectrum. Lower-energy photons do nothing, and the extra punch of higher-energy photons is wasted as heat. This fact explains why the efficiency of most current cells maxes out around 20 percent.

But more of the sun's energy could be captured if semiconductor building blocks could be tuned to several specific wavelengths of light. The band gap of semiconducting nanoparticles changes greatly with size, so precise control of nanoparticle dimensions may make it possible to manufacture such building blocks from a single material. A photovoltaic cell made of such components could capture huge swathes of the solar energy spectrum.

Other, similar applications should soon appear on the horizon for the technology, which has been licensed by Precision Nanoparticles, Inc., of Seattle.

"The only thing limiting us at this point is our imagination," Fox says.

####

About Idaho National Laboratory
In operation since 1949, INL is a science-based, applied engineering national laboratory dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy's missions in nuclear and energy research, science, and national defense.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Idaho National Laboratory
2025 Fremont Avenue
Idaho Falls, ID 83415
866-495-7440

Copyright © Idaho National Laboratory

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

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

Ultrathin, flat lens resolves chirality and color: Multifunctional lens could replace bulky, expensive machines June 25th, 2016

Nanotechnology and math deliver two-in-one punch for cancer therapy resistance June 24th, 2016

Researchers discover new chemical sensing technique: Technique allows sharper detail -- and more information -- with near infrared light June 24th, 2016

Possible Futures

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

Nanotechnology and math deliver two-in-one punch for cancer therapy resistance June 24th, 2016

Researchers discover new chemical sensing technique: Technique allows sharper detail -- and more information -- with near infrared light June 24th, 2016

GraphExeter illuminates bright new future for flexible lighting devices June 23rd, 2016

Discoveries

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

Ultrathin, flat lens resolves chirality and color: Multifunctional lens could replace bulky, expensive machines June 25th, 2016

Nanotechnology and math deliver two-in-one punch for cancer therapy resistance June 24th, 2016

Researchers discover new chemical sensing technique: Technique allows sharper detail -- and more information -- with near infrared light June 24th, 2016

Announcements

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

Ultrathin, flat lens resolves chirality and color: Multifunctional lens could replace bulky, expensive machines June 25th, 2016

Nanotechnology and math deliver two-in-one punch for cancer therapy resistance June 24th, 2016

Researchers discover new chemical sensing technique: Technique allows sharper detail -- and more information -- with near infrared light June 24th, 2016

Energy

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

Researchers discover new chemical sensing technique: Technique allows sharper detail -- and more information -- with near infrared light June 24th, 2016

FEI and University of Liverpool Announce QEMSCAN Research Initiative: University of Liverpool will utilize FEIís QEMSCAN technology to gain a better insight into oil and gas reserves & potentially change the approach to evaluating them June 22nd, 2016

Titan shines light on high-temperature superconductor pathway: Simulation demonstrates how superconductivity arises in cuprates' pseudogap phase June 22nd, 2016

Solar/Photovoltaic

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

New generation of high-efficiency solar thermal absorbers developed June 20th, 2016

Novel capping strategy improves stability of perovskite nanocrystals: Study addresses instability issues with organometal-halide perovskites, a promising class of materials for solar cells, LEDs, and other applications June 13th, 2016

Perovskite solar cells surpass 20 percent efficiency: EPFL researchers are pushing the limits of perovskite solar cell performance by exploring the best way to grow these crystals June 13th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic