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Nanotechnology Spotlight

Behind the buzz and beyond the hype:
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Showing Spotlights 1 - 8 of 50 in category Solar Cells (newest first):


Efficient triple-junction polymer solar cell design sets new record

solar_cellResearchers present an efficient design for a triple-junction organic tandem solar cell featuring a configuration of bandgap energies designed to maximize the tandem photocurrent output. The key innovation in this study is the demonstration of organic materials being able to mimic the record-setting efficiency of triple-junction structures in III-V solar cells. The team set out to determine a practical combination of bandgap energies for triple junctions to develop an efficient organic tandem solar cell structure.

Posted: Jul 31st, 2014

Questions arise on the stability of graphene as a platform for photocatalysis

graphene_flakesEver since its discovery in 2004, graphene has been considered a relatively stable, high surface area platform to anchor nanostructured catalyst materials for various electrochemical and photocatalytic applications. The emergence of solution-based graphene in the form of graphene oxide has enabled new wet-chemistry approaches to the creation of graphene-based nanocomposites. A new study raises questions about the long-term stability of reduced graphene oxide in an aqueous environment where hydroxyl radicals can be present as part of the photocatalytic reaction cycle.

Posted: Jul 28th, 2014

How nanostructure geometry affects polymer photovoltaic device efficiency

nanostructureConjugated polymer based organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices have been the subject of increasing research interest over the past years due to their potential of being light weight, mechanically flexible, semitransparent. To increase the efficiency of OPV, it is necessary to achieve a precisely controlled donor-acceptor phase separation within the short exciton diffusion length without dead ends, as well as a high hole mobility within the polymer. Now, researchers have demonstrated the effects of nanostructure geometry on the nanoimprint induced P3HT chain alignment and the performance of nanoimprinted photovoltaic devices.

Posted: Jul 22nd, 2014

Complete solar cells printed by inkjet

printed_solar_cellResearchers report for the first time the fabrication and measurement of all-inkjet-printed, all-air-processed organic solar cells. Organic photovoltaic technologies have the potential to become a thin-film alternative to inorganic silicon photovoltaics due to their intrinsic potential for low-cost print processing from solution - high-speed and at low temperature. Organic solar cells can be integrated into building facades and windows because they are optically translucent and can be manufactured on large areas at high throughput.

Posted: Jun 16th, 2014

An integrated solar-powered energy conversion-storage-utilization system

photoanodeAlmost all strategies for solar energy harvest and solar energy storage that exist today are developed as independent technologies. For instance, a solar cell generates electricity from the absorption and conversion of sunlight, while the storage of the produced electricity has to be implemented with another set of energy utilization solutions such as batteries/supercapacitors and fuel cells. With quite an ingenious solution, researchers have now demonstrated a hybrid, multifunctional material system that allows for simultaneous solar power generation (respectively hydrogen production), electrical energy storage, and chemical sensing.

Posted: Jun 6th, 2014

Interwoven solar cells turn T-shirt into a power textile

woven_solar_cellNew solar cell technology allows your T-shirt to generate power from its interwoven solar cell wires. Researchers have developed a novel efficient wire-shaped polymer solar cell by incorporating a thin layer of titania nanoparticles between the photoactive material and electrode. An aligned carbon nanotube fiber enabled high flexibility and stability of the resulting polymer solar cell. These miniature polymer solar cell wires, when woven into textiles, can serve as a power source.

Posted: Apr 3rd, 2014

Origami foldable solar cells (w/video)

foldable_solar_cellsInspired by a particular folding technique called rigid origami, researchers have demonstrated foldable silicon solar cells. The fabrication process utilizes mainstream high-temperature processes to fabricate high-performance stretchable electronics. In this approach, high-performance functional devices are fabricated on rigid surfaces and do not experience large strain during deformation, and these rigid surfaces are joined by serpentine-shaped interconnects that allow for a full-degree folding and unfolding, which enables deformability.

Posted: Feb 26th, 2014

Nanopaper optimized for solar cells

transparentTransparent and flexible substrates are widely explored for flexible electronics and researchers have been working on techniques to develop thermally stable and biodegradable materials that are as easily printable as paper. Previously, we reported on a transparent and flexible nanopaper transistor. The same team has now reported a novel transparent paper substrate design optimized for solar cells. They introduced a novel transparent paper made of earth-abundant wood fibers that simultaneously achieves an ultrahigh transmittance and ultrahigh optical haze.

Posted: Jan 22nd, 2014