Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Solar power's future brawl

02.10.2013
Simulations help North and South Dakota researchers decide which technology would make a better solar collector, quantum dot or nanowire

A trio of researchers at North Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota have turned to computer modeling to help decide which of two competing materials should get its day in the sun as the nanoscale energy-harvesting technology of future solar panels -- quantum dots or nanowires.


Amorphous Silicon nanowire (yellow network) facilitates harvesting of solar energy in the form of a photon (wavy line). In the process of light absorption a pair of mobile charge carriers is created (red clouds depict an electron smeared in space, while the blue clouds visualize the so-called hole which is a positively charged carrier). The energy of their directed motion is then transformed into electricity. Electron and hole charge distributions are often located in different regions of space due to multiple structural defects in amorphous silicon nanowires.

Credit: A.Kryjevski, S.Kilina and D.Kilin/JRSE

Andrei Kryjevski and his colleagues, Dimitri Kilin and Svetlana Kilina, report in AIP Publishing's Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy that they used computational chemistry models to predict the electronic and optical properties of three types of nanoscale (billionth of a meter) silicon structures with a potential application for solar energy collection: a quantum dot, one-dimensional chains of quantum dots and a nanowire. The ability to absorb light is substantially enhanced in nanomaterials compared to those used in conventional semiconductors. Determining which form -- quantum dots or nanowire -- maximizes this advantage was the goal of the numerical experiment conducted by the three researchers.

"We used Density Functional Theory, a computational approach that allows us to predict electronic and optical properties that reflect how well the nanoparticles can absorb light, and how that effectiveness is affected by the interaction between quantum dots and the disorder in their structures," Kryjevski said. "This way, we can predict how quantum dots, quantum dot chains and nanowires will behave in real life even before they are synthesized and their working properties experimentally checked."

The simulations made by Kryjevski, Kilin and Kilina indicated that light absorption by silicon quantum dot chains significantly increases with increased interactions between the individual nanospheres in the chain. They also found that light absorption by quantum dot chains and nanowires depends strongly on how the structure is aligned in relation to the direction of the photons striking it. Finally, the researchers learned that the atomic structure disorder in the amorphous nanoparticles results in better light absorption at lower energies compared to crystalline-based nanomaterials.

"Based on our findings, we believe that putting the amorphous quantum dots in an array or merging them into a nanowire are the best assemblies for maximizing the efficiency of silicon nanomaterials to absorb light and transport charge throughout a photovoltaic system," Kryjevski said. "However, our study is only a first step in a comprehensive computational investigation of the properties of semiconductor quantum dot assemblies.

"The next steps are to build more realistic models, such as larger quantum dots with their surfaces covered by organic ligands and simulate the processes that occur in actual solar cells," he added.

The article, "Amorphous Silicon Nanomaterials: Quantum Dots Versus Nanowires" by Andrei Kryjevski, Dmitri Kilin and Svetlana Kilina, appears in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. See: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4817728

ABOUT THE JOURNAL

The Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal covering all areas of renewable and sustainable energy that apply to the physical science and engineering communities. See: http://jrse.aip.org

Jason Socrates Bardi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aip.org

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Researchers take next step toward fusion energy
16.11.2017 | Texas A&M University

nachricht Desert solar to fuel centuries of air travel
16.11.2017 | SolarPACES

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>