Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > UQ researchers make breakthrough in renewable energy materials

Abstract:
University of Queensland researchers have made a ground-breaking discovery that produces highly efficient miniature crystals which could revolutionise the way we harvest and use solar energy.

UQ researchers make breakthrough in renewable energy materials

Australia | Posted on May 28th, 2008

Professor Max Lu, from UQ's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), said they were one step closer to the holy grail of cost-effective solar energy with their discovery.

"We have grown the world's first titanium oxide single crystals with large amounts of reactive surfaces, something that was predicted as almost impossible," Professor Lu said.

"Highly active surfaces in such crystals allow high reactivity and efficiency in devices used for solar energy conversion and hydrogen production.

"Titania nano-crystals are promising materials for cost-effective solar cells, hydrogen production from splitting water, and solar decontamination of pollutants.

"The beauty of our technique is that it is very simple and cheap to make such materials at mild conditions.

"Now that the research has elucidated the conditions required, the method is like cooking in an oven and the crystals can be applied like paints."

Professor Lu, who was recently awarded a second prestigious Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship, said it wasn't just renewable energy where this research could be applied.

"These crystals are also fantastic for purifying air and water," he said.

"The same principle for such materials to convert sunlight to electricity is also working to break down pollutants in water and air.

"One could paint these crystals onto a window or a wall to purify the air in a room.

"The potential of applications of this technology in water purification and recycling are huge."

Professor Lu said it would be about five years for the water and air pollution applications to be commercially available, and about 5 to 10 years for the solar energy conversion using such crystals.

He said the breakthrough technology was a great example of cross-discipline collaborations with work by Professor Sean Smith's Computational Molecular Science group at AIBN, who conducted key computational studies and helped the experimentalist researchers to focus on specific surface modification elements for control of the crystal morphology.

"First-principle computational chemistry is a powerful tool in aiding the design and synthetic realisation of novel nanomaterials, and this work is a beautiful example of the synergy," Professor Smith said.

Professor Lu said the work was also the result of a very fruitful and long-term international collaboration with Professor Huiming Cheng's group from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a world-class institution with which UQ has many productive research collaborations.

The research, which was produced with colleagues Huagui Yang, Chenghua Sun, Shizhang Qiao, Gang Liu, Jin Zou, has been published in the latest edition of scientific journal Nature (doi:10.1038/nature06964).

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Professor Max Lu
07 3346 3828
or 0402 892 799
or
Andrew Dunne
UQ Communications
07 3365 2802
or 0433 364 181

Copyright © University of Queensland

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

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Shedding light on perovskite hydrides using a new deposition technique: Researchers develop a methodology to grow single-crystal perovskite hydrides, enabling accurate hydride conductivity measurements May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Announcements

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Finding quantum order in chaos May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Energy

Development of zinc oxide nanopagoda array photoelectrode: photoelectrochemical water-splitting hydrogen production January 12th, 2024

Shedding light on unique conduction mechanisms in a new type of perovskite oxide November 17th, 2023

Inverted perovskite solar cell breaks 25% efficiency record: Researchers improve cell efficiency using a combination of molecules to address different November 17th, 2023

The efficient perovskite cells with a structured anti-reflective layer another step towards commercialization on a wider scale October 6th, 2023

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project