Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





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

Thin films offer promise for ferroelectric devices: Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology demystify the ferroelectric properties observed in hafnium-oxide-based thin films, revealing a potentially useful device material August 3rd, 2015

Harris & Harris Group Portfolio Company, HZO, Announces Partnerships with Dell and Motorola August 1st, 2015

Advances and Applications in Biosensing, Sensor Power, and Sensor R&D to be Covered at Sensors Global Summit August 1st, 2015

Kalam: versatility personified August 1st, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Self-assembling, biomimetic membranes may aid water filtration August 1st, 2015

Kalam: versatility personified August 1st, 2015

Heating and cooling with light leads to ultrafast DNA diagnostics July 31st, 2015

Theoretical Physicists at Freie Universität Berlin Develop New Insights into Interface between Classical and Quantum Worlds July 31st, 2015

Discoveries

Thin films offer promise for ferroelectric devices: Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology demystify the ferroelectric properties observed in hafnium-oxide-based thin films, revealing a potentially useful device material August 3rd, 2015

Shaping the hilly landscapes of a semi-conductor nanoworld August 1st, 2015

Solid state physics: Quantum matter stuck in unrest August 1st, 2015

Self-assembling, biomimetic membranes may aid water filtration August 1st, 2015

Announcements

Thin films offer promise for ferroelectric devices: Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology demystify the ferroelectric properties observed in hafnium-oxide-based thin films, revealing a potentially useful device material August 3rd, 2015

Transparent, electrically conductive network of encapsulated silver nanowires: A novel electrode for optoelectronics August 1st, 2015

Harris & Harris Group Portfolio Company, HZO, Announces Partnerships with Dell and Motorola August 1st, 2015

Advances and Applications in Biosensing, Sensor Power, and Sensor R&D to be Covered at Sensors Global Summit August 1st, 2015

Energy

Transparent, electrically conductive network of encapsulated silver nanowires: A novel electrode for optoelectronics August 1st, 2015

Springer and Tsinghua University Press present the second Nano Research Award: Paul Alivisatos of the University of California Berkeley receives the honor for outstanding contributions in nanoscience July 30th, 2015

Controlling Dynamic Behavior of Carbon Nanosheets in Structures Made Possible July 30th, 2015

March 2016; 6th Int'l Conference on Nanostructures in Iran July 29th, 2015

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

Heating and cooling with light leads to ultrafast DNA diagnostics July 31st, 2015

Springer and Tsinghua University Press present the second Nano Research Award: Paul Alivisatos of the University of California Berkeley receives the honor for outstanding contributions in nanoscience July 30th, 2015

European Technology Platform for Nanomedicine and ENATRANS European Consortium Launch the 2nd edition of the Nanomedicine Award: The Award to be presented at BIO-Europe conference in Munich, November 2015 July 30th, 2015

Publication on Atomic Force Microscopy based nanoscale IR Spectroscopy (AFM-IR) persists as a 2015 top downloaded paper July 29th, 2015

Quantum Dots/Rods

Quantum networks: Back and forth are not equal distances! July 28th, 2015

Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record: Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers July 27th, 2015

Engineered hybrid crystal opens new frontiers for high-efficiency lighting: University of Toronto researchers successfully combine 2 different materials to create new hyper-efficient light-emitting crystal July 16th, 2015

Down to the quantum dot: Jülich researchers develop ultrahigh-resolution 3-D microscopy technique for electric fields July 7th, 2015

Solar/Photovoltaic

Transparent, electrically conductive network of encapsulated silver nanowires: A novel electrode for optoelectronics August 1st, 2015

Springer and Tsinghua University Press present the second Nano Research Award: Paul Alivisatos of the University of California Berkeley receives the honor for outstanding contributions in nanoscience July 30th, 2015

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity: UC Riverside researchers find a way to use the infrared region of the sun's spectrum to make solar cells more efficient July 27th, 2015

Rice University finding could lead to cheap, efficient metal-based solar cells: Plasmonics study suggests how to maximize production of 'hot electrons' July 22nd, 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