Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Nanowires have the power to revolutionize solar energy

Abstract:
Imagine a solar panel more efficient than today's best solar panels, but using 10 000 times less material. This is what EPFL researchers expect given recent findings on these tiny filaments called nanowires. Solar technology integrating nanowires could capture large quantities of light and produce energy with incredible efficiency at a much lower cost. This technology is possibly the future for powering microchips and the basis for a new generation of solar panels.



Capture up to 12 times more light to produce more energy? Nanowires do just that and surpass expectations on solar energy production.

Nanowires have the power to revolutionize solar energy

Lausanne, Switzerland | Posted on April 8th, 2013

Despite their size, nanowires have tremendous potential for energy production. "These nanowires capture much more light than expected," says Anna Fontcuberta i Morral about her research, published on 24 March 2013 in Nature Photonics.

Nanowires are extremely tiny filaments-in this case able to capture light-with a diameter that measures tens to hundreds of nanometers, where a nanometer is one millionth of a millimeter. These miniscule wires are up to 1000 times smaller than the diameter of human hair, or comparable in diameter to the size of viruses.

When equipped with the right electronic properties, the nanowire becomes a tiny solar cell, transforming sunlight into electric current. Anna Fontcuberta i Morral and her team built a nanowire solar cell out of gallium arsenide, a material which is better at converting light into power than silicon. They found that it actually collects more light than the usual flat solar cell-up to 12 times more-and more light means more energy.

The nanowire standing vertically essentially acts like a very efficient light funnel. Even though the nanowire is only a few hundred nanometers in diameter, it absorbs light as though it were 12 times bigger. In other words, it has a greater field of vision than expected.

Fontcuberta's prototype is already almost 10% more efficient at transforming light into power than allowed, in theory, for conventional single material solar panels. Furthermore, optimizing the dimensions of the nanowire, improving the quality of the gallium arsenide and using better electrical contacts to extract the current could increase the prototype's efficiency.

Arrays of nanowire solar cells offer new prospects for energy production. This study suggests that an array of nanowires may attain 33% efficiency, in practice, whereas commercial (flat) solar panels are now only up to 20% efficient. Also, arrays of nanowires would use at least 10 000 times less gallium arsenide, allowing for industrial use of this costly material. Translating this into dollars for gallium arsenide, the cost would only be $10 per square meter instead of $100 000.

Free to the engineer's imagination to mount these nanowires onto a variety of substrate panels, be it lightweight, flexible or designed to withstand the harshest of conditions. In a world where energy consumption is on the rise, these nanowires may one day power everything from your favorite gadget to space missions to Mars.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Hillary Sanctuary

41-797-034-809

Copyright © Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

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

Smaller, faster, cheaper: A new type of modulator for the future of data transmission July 27th, 2015

Researchers predict material with record-setting melting point July 27th, 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

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Provides Update on PCAOB Audited Financials July 27th, 2015

Videos/Movies

Caught on camera: The first glimpse of powerful nanoparticles July 17th, 2015

A most singular nano-imaging technique: Berkeley Lab's SINGLE provides images of individual nanoparticles in solution July 16th, 2015

A 'movie' of ultrafast rotating molecules at a hundred billion per second: A quantum wave-like nature was successfully observed in rotating nitrogen molecules July 4th, 2015

Freezing single atoms to absolute zero with microwaves brings quantum technology closer: Atoms frozen to absolute zero using microwaves July 2nd, 2015

Chip Technology

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

Spintronics: Molecules stabilizing magnetism: Organic molecules fixing the magnetic orientation of a cobalt surface/ building block for a compact and low-cost storage technology/ publication in Nature Materials July 25th, 2015

Penn researchers discover new chiral property of silicon, with photonic applications July 25th, 2015

Global Nano Barium Sulfate Industry 2015 Market Research Report July 23rd, 2015

Nanoelectronics

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

Spintronics: Molecules stabilizing magnetism: Organic molecules fixing the magnetic orientation of a cobalt surface/ building block for a compact and low-cost storage technology/ publication in Nature Materials July 25th, 2015

ORNL researchers make scalable arrays of 'building blocks' for ultrathin electronics July 22nd, 2015

An easy, scalable and direct method for synthesizing graphene in silicon microelectronics: Korean researchers grow 4-inch diameter, high-quality, multi-layer graphene on desired silicon substrates, an important step for harnessing graphene in commercial silicon microelectronics July 21st, 2015

Discoveries

Smart hydrogel coating creates 'stick-slip' control of capillary action July 27th, 2015

Smaller, faster, cheaper: A new type of modulator for the future of data transmission July 27th, 2015

Researchers predict material with record-setting melting point July 27th, 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

Announcements

Researchers predict material with record-setting melting point July 27th, 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

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Provides Update on PCAOB Audited Financials July 27th, 2015

Global Corrosion Resistant Nano Coatings Market To 2015: Acute Market Reports July 27th, 2015

Energy

Smaller, faster, cheaper: A new type of modulator for the future of data transmission July 27th, 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

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Provides Update on PCAOB Audited Financials July 27th, 2015

Ultra-thin hollow nanocages could reduce platinum use in fuel cell electrodes July 24th, 2015

Aerospace/Space

UT Dallas nanotechnology research leads to super-elastic conducting fibers July 24th, 2015

Global Aerospace Applications Nanocoatings Industry 2015: Acute Market Reports July 21st, 2015

NASA-Funded Study Reduces Cost of Human Missions to Moon and Mars by Factor of Ten July 20th, 2015

University of Puerto Rico and NASA in the news – XEI reports July 16th, 2015

Solar/Photovoltaic

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

Perovskite solar technology shows quick energy returns: New technology beats current solar panel technology in life-cycle energy assessment July 20th, 2015

Nanowires give 'solar fuel cell' efficiency a tenfold boost: Eindhoven researchers make important step towards a solar cell that generates hydrogen July 17th, 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