Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Researchers Seek Way to Make Solar Cells Ultra-Thin, Flexible: National Science Foundation Grant to Further Study of Materials Developed With Nanotechnology

Dr. Anton Malko (left) works in the lab with Hue Minh Nguyen, a physics graduate student who has assisted in the research.
Dr. Anton Malko (left) works in the lab with Hue Minh Nguyen, a physics graduate student who has assisted in the research.

Abstract:
Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas are developing nanotechnology that could lead to a new platform for solar cells, one that could drive the development of lighter, flexible and more versatile solar-powered technology than is currently available.

Researchers Seek Way to Make Solar Cells Ultra-Thin, Flexible: National Science Foundation Grant to Further Study of Materials Developed With Nanotechnology

Dallas, TX | Posted on October 9th, 2012

The National Science Foundation recently awarded a $390,000 grant to Dr. Anton Malko and Dr. Yuri Gartstein, both in the Department of Physics, and Dr. Yves Chabal in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering to further explore their research on the feasibility of ultrathin-film photovoltaic devices, which convert light from the sun into electric power.

"Traditional silicon solar cells that are commercially available are made from silicon that is a couple of hundred microns thick," Malko said. "Our goal is to reduce that by a hundred times, down to about one micron thick, while at the same time maintaining efficiency."

A micron, or micrometer, is a unit of measurement, equal to one millionth of a meter. For comparison, the diameter of a human hair is about 100 microns, and a U.S. dime coin is about 1,250 microns thick.

While the scale of the research objects is tiny, their impact could be substantial.

"Solar cells that are 100 microns thick are rigid and fragile," Malko said. "At the thickness we are investigating, devices would not only be lighter, but they also become flexible. There is a large market and application niche for flexible solar cells, such as on clothing or backpacks for hikers, or in situations where you need portable sources to power electronics."

The UT Dallas approach to building solar cells involves the use of nanosized crystal particles called quantum dots, which absorb light much better than silicon. The energy they absorb is then transferred into silicon and converted into an electric signal.

The researchers construct their experimental photovoltaic structures layer by layer, starting with an ultrathin layer of silicon, a so-called nanomembrane about one-tenth of a micron thick. On top of that, with the aid of special molecular "linkers," layers of accurately positioned quantum dots are added.

"This is not yet an engineering project, it's a research project," Gartstein said. "We believe we are asking interesting scientific questions and researching concepts that might eventually lead to devices."

Initial findings from the research were published recently in the journal ACS Nano.

"The key point of our research is to characterize the way energy is transferred from the quantum dots through the layers to the silicon, as well as to determine how we might exploit those properties and optimize the arrangement of the quantum dots, the thickness of the layers and other aspects of the structure," Malko said.

The cross-disciplinary research involves not only proficiency in experimental and theoretical physics, which Malko and Gartstein provide. Materials science and nanotechnology expertise is also crucial. A key member of the team is Dr. Oliver Seitz, a postdoctoral researcher in Chabal's laboratory, who carried out the delicate and precisely controlled process of actually building the test structures.

"This project, conceived and initiated by Anton Malko, has been exciting at all stages of research," said Chabal, holder of the Texas Instruments Distinguished University Chair in Nanoelectronics. "It has engaged my group into an exciting application relying on the chemical control of surfaces we have been developing."

Gartstein added: "This is one of those cases where the word ‘synergy' truly applies. As a theorist, I can come up with some ideas and do some calculations, but I cannot build these things. In materials science, Dr. Seitz actually implements our joint ideas to make the physical samples. Then in Dr. Malko's lab, ultrafast laser spectroscopy is used to physically measure the relevant processes and properties. Hue Minh Nguyen, a physics graduate student, contributed tremendously to this effort.

"It's been a great pleasure to work together in this atmosphere of a true collaboration," he said.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Amanda Siegfried
UT Dallas
(972) 883-4335


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

Copyright © University of Texas at 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

Nanotech-enabled moisturizer speeds healing of diabetic skin wounds: Spherical nucleic acids silence gene that interferes with wound healing April 24th, 2015

Fast and accurate 3-D imaging technique to track optically trapped particles April 24th, 2015

Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material: KIT scientists measure important process in the conversion of light energy -- publication in Nature Communications April 24th, 2015

Scientists Use Nanoscale Building Blocks and DNA 'Glue' to Shape 3D Superlattices: New approach to designing ordered composite materials for possible energy applications April 23rd, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

ORNL reports method that takes quantum sensing to new level April 23rd, 2015

Electron spin brings order to high entropy alloys April 23rd, 2015

Scientists Use Nanoscale Building Blocks and DNA 'Glue' to Shape 3D Superlattices: New approach to designing ordered composite materials for possible energy applications April 23rd, 2015

New class of 3D-printed aerogels improve energy storage April 22nd, 2015

Discoveries

Nanotech-enabled moisturizer speeds healing of diabetic skin wounds: Spherical nucleic acids silence gene that interferes with wound healing April 24th, 2015

Fast and accurate 3-D imaging technique to track optically trapped particles April 24th, 2015

Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material: KIT scientists measure important process in the conversion of light energy -- publication in Nature Communications April 24th, 2015

Surface matters: Huge reduction of heat conduction observed in flat silicon channels April 23rd, 2015

Announcements

Nanotech-enabled moisturizer speeds healing of diabetic skin wounds: Spherical nucleic acids silence gene that interferes with wound healing April 24th, 2015

Fast and accurate 3-D imaging technique to track optically trapped particles April 24th, 2015

Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material: KIT scientists measure important process in the conversion of light energy -- publication in Nature Communications April 24th, 2015

Surface matters: Huge reduction of heat conduction observed in flat silicon channels April 23rd, 2015

Energy

Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material: KIT scientists measure important process in the conversion of light energy -- publication in Nature Communications April 24th, 2015

Scientists Use Nanoscale Building Blocks and DNA 'Glue' to Shape 3D Superlattices: New approach to designing ordered composite materials for possible energy applications April 23rd, 2015

'Holey' graphene for energy storage: Charged holes in graphene increase energy storage capacity April 22nd, 2015

Expanding the reach of metallic glass April 22nd, 2015

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

Richards-Kortum elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences: April 22nd, 2015

‘Oxford Instruments Young Nanoscientist India Award 2015’ to Prof. Arindam Ghosh April 20th, 2015

Iranian Female Professor Awarded UNESCO Medal in Nanoscience April 20th, 2015

Happily ever after: Scientists arrange protein-nanoparticle marriage: New biotech method could lead to development of HIV vaccine, targeted cancer treatment April 20th, 2015

Quantum Dots/Rods

QD Vision Expands Product Line with Two-Millimeter Color LCD Display Optic: Color IQ™ Optic Enables Full-Color Gamut for Ultra-Thin Displays and All-in-One Computers April 16th, 2015

Promising future of quantum dots explored in conference: ‘20 Years of Quantum Dots at Los Alamos’ runs April 12-16 April 13th, 2015

Next important step toward quantum computer: Scientists at the University of Bonn have succeeded in linking 2 different quantum systems March 30th, 2015

Tiny bio-robot is a germ suited-up with graphene quantum dots March 24th, 2015

Solar/Photovoltaic

Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material: KIT scientists measure important process in the conversion of light energy -- publication in Nature Communications April 24th, 2015

Printing Silicon on Paper, with Lasers April 21st, 2015

Better battery imaging paves way for renewable energy future April 20th, 2015

The microscopic topography of ink on paper: Researchers have analyzed the varying thickness of printed toner in unprecedented 3-D detail, yielding insights that could lead to higher quality, less expensive and more environmentally-friendly glossy and non-glossy papers April 14th, 2015

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