by Staff Writers
Delft, Germany (SPX) Sep 28, 2011
Researchers of the Chemical Engineering department and the Kavli institute of TU Delft have demonstrated that electrons can move freely in layers of linked semiconductor nanoparticles under the influence of light.
This new knowledge will be very useful for the development of cheap and efficient quantum dot solar cells. The researchers published their findings on the website of the scientific journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Cheap and efficient
One way of increasing the efficiency of cheap solar cells is the use of semiconductor nanoparticles, quantum dots. In theory, the efficiency of these cells can be increased to 44%.
This is in part due to the avalanche effect, demonstrated by researchers from TU Delft and the FOM Foundation in 2008. In the current solar cells, an absorbed light particle can only excite one electron (creating an electron-hole pair), while in a quantum dot solar cell a light particle can excite several electrons. The more electrons that are excited, the greater the efficiency of the solar cell.
Researchers from the same research group have now demonstrated that the electron-hole pairs can also move as free charges between the nanoparticles.
To this end they linked nanoparticles together, using very small molecules, so that they were very densely clustered while still remaining separate from each other. The nanoparticles are so close together that every single light particle that is absorbed by the solar cell actually causes electrons to move.
Read the article on the website of Nature Nanotechnology Arjan Houtepen, researcher with the Department of Opto-electronic Materials, Faculty of Applied Sciences, TU Delft.
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Scientists lay out plans for efficient harvesting of solar energy
London UK (SPX) Sep 28, 2011
Solar power could be harvested more efficiently and transported over long distances using tiny molecular circuits, according to research inspired by new insights into natural photosynthesis. Incorporating the latest research into how plants, algae and some bacteria use quantum mechanics to optimise energy production via photosynthesis, scientists have set out how to design molecular "circu ... read more
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