The conversion of solar energy into electrical power plays a major role in the successful transition to renewable energy sources. Although conventional silicon solar cells have come to be highly efficient, their production is expensive and consumes a lot of energy. Therefore, it is certainly worthwhile to look for alternatives.
Properties of the material are promising
For this reason, a new research network is going to determine which materials are suitable for the photovoltaics of the future. Tiny tubes of pure carbon that are arranged into larger structures seem to be excellent candidates: "This material has many properties holding considerable promise for a highly efficient energy conversion," says Professor Tobias Hertel of the University of Würzburg.
The material is interesting for photovoltaics due to its great stability and exceptionally high electron mobility. It also has a light absorption spectrum – not easily attainable by any other materials – that is very suitable for energy conversion.
The researcher's objectives
"Although we have been working in the field of organic photovoltaics for years, our first experiments with the high-grade nanotubes didn't fail to thrill and motivate us," recounts Hertel's Würzburg project partner, Professor Vladimir Dyakonov.
The scientists now intend to further explore the photovoltaic potential of carbon nanotube polymer composites. Special focus is put on the development of socalled functional composite systems. The properties of these systems are to be analyzed with cutting-edge spectroscopic methods.
Training of young researchers important
Apart from the research, the training of doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers in science and industry is an essential objective of the project. On their respective location, the project partners offer courses, industrial internships and workshops in order to provide young researchers with expert knowledge and to prepare them for an academic career.
Project partners and coordination
The project is called POCAONTAS (Polymer-Carbon Nanotubes Active Systems for Photovoltaics). Apart from the Würzburg study groups of Professor Tobias Hertel (chemistry) and Professor Vladimir Dyakonov (physics), it includes further research groups from Munich and five other European countries. Several companies, including two from Bavaria, and the Bavarian Research Alliance have also joined in. The project is coordinated by Professor Larry Lüer (Madrid).
Under the "Initial Training Network" program, the European Union will fund the project with altogether EUR 3.5 million over a period of four years, starting from 1 November 2012. According to Professor Hertel, there is a fierce competition for the funds: "Only very few projects that have been recognized as excellent receive such grants."
Prof. Dr. Tobias Hertel, Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry of the University of Würzburg, T +49 (0)931 31-86300, email@example.com
Gunnar Bartsch | Source: Uni Würzburg
Further information: www.uni-wuerzburg.de
Further Reports about: efficient energy > energy source > high-grade nanotubes > Nanotube > Photovoltaics > POCAONTAS > pure carbon > renewable energy source > renewable energy sources > silicon solar cells > solar cell
More articles from Physics and Astronomy:
3D printing used as a tool to explain theoretical physics
09.12.2013 | Institute of Physics
Three-dimensional view helps laser in building new molecules
06.12.2013 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik
In power electronics systems bonded connections create the central electrical connections between adjoining surfaces.
The quality of these bonded connections is one of the main factors that determines the reliability and availability of drive systems in electric vehicles, and hence constitutes a major design challenge for German auto manufacturers aiming to electrify their vehicles.
Now the partners participating in the RoBE (Robust Bonds in ...
International team of scientists develops new feedback method for optimizing the laser pulse shapes used in the control of chemical reactions
In many ways, traditional chemical synthesis is similar to cooking. To alter the final product, you can change the ingredients or their ratio, change the method of mixing ingredients, or change the temperature or pressure of the environment of the ingredients.
Like an accomplished chef, chemists have become very skilled ...
A genetic defect protects mice from infection with influenza viruses
A new study published in the scientific journal PLOS Pathogens points out that mice lacking a protein called Tmprss2 are no longer affected by certain flu viruses.
The discovery was made by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig in collaboration with colleagues from Göttingen and ...
The Light: Global study gets underway with online user survey
Light has a fundamental impact on our sense of well-being and performance. In cooperation with Zumtobel, a supplier of lighting solutions, Fraunhofer IAO has launched a global user survey of lighting quality in offices. The objective is to identify the best lighting conditions for a variety of spaces and lighting ...
Quantum entanglement, a perplexing phenomenon of quantum mechanics that Albert Einstein once referred to as “spooky action at a distance,” could be even spookier than Einstein perceived.
Physicists at the University of Washington and Stony Brook University in New York believe the phenomenon might be intrinsically linked with wormholes, hypothetical features of space-time that in popular science fiction can provide a much-faster-than-light shortcut from one part of the universe to another.
But here’s the catch: One couldn’t actually ...
09.12.2013 | Materials Sciences
09.12.2013 | Life Sciences
09.12.2013 | Studies and Analyses
05.12.2013 | Event News
04.12.2013 | Event News
12.11.2013 | Event News