Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Technion Researchers Find New Way to Charge Solar Cell Materials

02.12.2011
Solar power must become more efficient and less expensive to compete with energy produced by fossil fuels. Silicon-based solar cells are the dominant technology in the field, but the widespread adoption of these cells has been slowed by their high costs. Solar cells that use inorganic nanocrystals or "quantum dots" could be a cheaper alternative, but they are generally less efficient at turning solar energy into electricity.

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers have now found a new way to generate an electrical field inside the quantum dots, making them more suitable for building an energy-efficient nanocrystal solar cell.

In their report in the October 9 issue of Nature Materials, Professor Nir Tessler (of the Zisapel Nano-Electronics Center in the Technion Department of Electrical Engineering) and colleagues describe how they "tuned" the electrical properties of quantum dots before testing their capabilities in a model solar cell.

Nanocrystal or quantum dots "are promising materials for low-cost and high efficiency solar cells" due to their unusual electronic properties, Tessler said. For instance, the size of a quantum dot is uniquely correlated to its light absorption, so changing a dot's size can maximize its ability to harvest light within a solar cell.

To live up to their promise, however, the dots must share electrons efficiently-a feat that has been difficult to control. The Technion study offers a new way to bring an electrical charge to the dots-each about one-millionth the size of the period at the end of this sentence.

Tessler and colleagues were able to generate strong electrical fields within the dots by capping them with two different organic molecules. The chemical groups that attach the molecules to the dots' surface generate the electrical field, they show.

Tessler said the findings give researchers one more method of controlling the building blocks of nanoelectronics. The dots are produced in an optoelectronic "ink" solution, he noted, which could make them suitable for future applications in "the field of printed electronics that will produce sheets of light or sheets of solar cells."

The researchers hope to combine these findings along with their previous experiments that mix different kinds of nanocrystals, to discover whether combining the two methods might lead to even more efficient energy production.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is consistently ranked among the world's leading science and technology universities. Home to three of Israel's five winners of the Nobel Prize in science, the Technion commands a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in computer science, nanotechnology, biotechnology, energy, water-resource management, medicine, drug development, and aerospace. Headquartered in New York City, the American Technion Society (ATS) promotes scientific and technological research and education at the Technion.

Kevin Hattori | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ats.org

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New biomaterial could replace plastic laminates, greatly reduce pollution
21.09.2017 | Penn State

nachricht Stopping problem ice -- by cracking it
21.09.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>