Nano-sandwich technique slims down solar cells, improves efficiency | KurzweilAI
Researchers from North Carolina State University have found a way to create much slimmer thin-film solar cells without sacrificing the cells’ ability to absorb solar energy. Making the cells thinner should significantly decrease manufacturing costs for the technology.
“We were able to create solar cells using a “nanoscale sandwich” design with an ultra-thin active layer,” says Dr. Linyou Cao, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. “For example, we created a solar cell with an active layer of amorphous silicon that is only 70 nanometers (nm) thick.
This is a significant improvement, because typical thin-film solar cells currently on the market that also use amorphous silicon have active layers between 300 and 500 nm thick.” The “active” layer in thin-film solar cells is the layer of material that actually absorbs solar energy for conversion into electricity or chemical fuel.

Nano-sandwich technique slims down solar cells, improves efficiency | KurzweilAI

Researchers from North Carolina State University have found a way to create much slimmer thin-film solar cells without sacrificing the cells’ ability to absorb solar energy. Making the cells thinner should significantly decrease manufacturing costs for the technology.

“We were able to create solar cells using a “nanoscale sandwich” design with an ultra-thin active layer,” says Dr. Linyou Cao, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. “For example, we created a solar cell with an active layer of amorphous silicon that is only 70 nanometers (nm) thick.

This is a significant improvement, because typical thin-film solar cells currently on the market that also use amorphous silicon have active layers between 300 and 500 nm thick.” The “active” layer in thin-film solar cells is the layer of material that actually absorbs solar energy for conversion into electricity or chemical fuel.

Graphene Films Enabling Miracle Nanomaterials
Source: Smarter Technology

Pure carbon thin-films just nanometers thick are enabling a new era of miracle applications, from windshields so slick they don’t require wipers to thermoelectric materials that drastically reduce energy generation costs by harvesting waste heat.

Graphene—pure carbon thin-film—has a wide variety of uses beyond its potential in semiconductor manufacturing, from reducing the drag on ships’ hulls to recovering lost energy at coal-fired electricity generation plants, according to separate research projects at Vanderbilt University and the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) at Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland).

Graphene Films Enabling Miracle Nanomaterials

Source: Smarter Technology

  • Pure carbon thin-films just nanometers thick are enabling a new era of miracle applications, from windshields so slick they don’t require wipers to thermoelectric materials that drastically reduce energy generation costs by harvesting waste heat.
  • Graphene—pure carbon thin-film—has a wide variety of uses beyond its potential in semiconductor manufacturing, from reducing the drag on ships’ hulls to recovering lost energy at coal-fired electricity generation plants, according to separate research projects at Vanderbilt University and the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) at Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland).

Enter Nanosolar, a San Jose-based start-up that manufactures thin-film solar panels. Unlike the bulky silicon panels that dominate the solar market, Nanosolar thin-film technology is light and extremely cheap to make. The key is the manufacturing process: while silicon panels need to be baked in batches, Nanosolar’s thin-film panels roll off the assembly line, as if from a printing press. (via TIME’s Best Inventions of 2008)

Enter Nanosolar, a San Jose-based start-up that manufactures thin-film solar panels. Unlike the bulky silicon panels that dominate the solar market, Nanosolar thin-film technology is light and extremely cheap to make. The key is the manufacturing process: while silicon panels need to be baked in batches, Nanosolar’s thin-film panels roll off the assembly line, as if from a printing press. (via TIME’s Best Inventions of 2008)