Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > News > New light on Earth’s energy crisis

November 24th, 2009

New light on Earth’s energy crisis

Abstract:
Another exciting breakthrough is an electronic device that uses spinach to convert light into electrical charge, developed by US researchers. Zhang Shuguang and research collaborators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have combined a protein complex extracted from spinach chloroplasts, with organic semiconductors, to make a solar cell that could be incorporated with solid state electronics. "Nature has been doing this for billions of years," Zhang says, "but this is the first time we've been able to harness it."

With nanotechnology and the minimalist idea of ‘less is more', thinner and lighter panels are making way to a more efficient design of a solar panel.

Zhang's team artificially stabilised the protein complex at the heart of their system, consisting of 14 protein subunits and hundreds of chlorophyll molecules, using synthetic peptides to bind small amounts of water to it, within a sealed unit.

Photons then ‘excite' coupled pairs of electrons within chlorophyll, causing an electron to transfer to a nearby receptor molecule. Plants use this transfer to complete photosynthesis. Zhang has fostered this principle into his device, feeding electrons into organic semiconductors aligned on top of a layer of glass.

Zhang encountered difficulties with the use of organic materials in system. The protein complex is kept stable for about three weeks by the peptides, and the cells convert only twelve per cent of light to electrical charge. The solution seems to point towards layering numerous cells atop each other, so that a certain amount of light can pass through.

Interestingly enough, in New Zealand other researchers are on a similar wavelength. Solar cell technology developed by Massey University's Nanomaterials Research Centre will enable New Zealanders to create electricity from sunlight 90 per cent cheaper than the current silicon-based, photo-electric solar cells.

Source:
universityobserver.ie

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Journal Nanotechnology Progress International (JONPI) Volume 6, issue 2 coming out soon! December 5th, 2016

Infrared instrumentation leader secures exclusive use of Vantablack coating December 5th, 2016

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified: Scientists invent ground-breaking new method that puts quantum computers within reach December 5th, 2016

Chemistry

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Scientists shrink electron gun to matchbox size: Terahertz technology has the potential to enable new applications November 25th, 2016

Tip-assisted chemistry enables chemical reactions at femtoliter scale November 16th, 2016

New Book by Nobel Laureate Tells Story of Chemistry’s New Field: Fraser Stoddart explains the mechanical bond and where it is taking scientists November 11th, 2016

Possible Futures

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified: Scientists invent ground-breaking new method that puts quantum computers within reach December 5th, 2016

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses: Medicine diffusion capsule could locally treat multiple ailments and diseases over several weeks December 3rd, 2016

Announcements

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Journal Nanotechnology Progress International (JONPI) Volume 6, issue 2 coming out soon! December 5th, 2016

Infrared instrumentation leader secures exclusive use of Vantablack coating December 5th, 2016

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified: Scientists invent ground-breaking new method that puts quantum computers within reach December 5th, 2016

Environment

Semiconductor-free microelectronics are now possible, thanks to metamaterials November 9th, 2016

First time physicists observed and quantified tiny nanoparticle crossing lipid membrane November 7th, 2016

Nanosensors on the alert for terrorist threats: Scientists interested in the prospects of gas sensors based on binary metal oxide nanocomposites November 5th, 2016

Marsden minds: Amazing projects revealed November 3rd, 2016

Energy

Research Study: MetaSOLTM Shatters Solar Panel Efficiency Forecasts with Innovative New Coating: Coating Provides 1.2 Percent Absolute Enhancement to Triple Junction Solar Cells December 2nd, 2016

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Throwing new light on printed organic solar cells December 1st, 2016

Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells: Researchers combine quantum physics and photosynthesis to make discovery that could lead to highly efficient, green solar cells November 30th, 2016

Solar/Photovoltaic

Research Study: MetaSOLTM Shatters Solar Panel Efficiency Forecasts with Innovative New Coating: Coating Provides 1.2 Percent Absolute Enhancement to Triple Junction Solar Cells December 2nd, 2016

Throwing new light on printed organic solar cells December 1st, 2016

Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells: Researchers combine quantum physics and photosynthesis to make discovery that could lead to highly efficient, green solar cells November 30th, 2016

'Back to the Future' inspires solar nanotech-powered clothing November 15th, 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