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Research Promises Cheap Solar Power

C?omb?i?nin?g two? cu?ttin?g?-edg?e na?no?t?e?ch br?eak?t?hrou?g?hs? co?uld? d?r?i?v?e down? t?h?e c?o?st? of solar power and ma?k?e? it ev?e?n? m?o?re e?f?fici?e?nt?, accor?din?g? to an au?t?hor? of new rese?a?r?c?h? in t?h?e Jou?rn?a?l? of Ph?ys?ica?l Ch?e?mis?t?ry.

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Th?i?n?-fil?m? solar te?c?hn?o?lo?g?y?, wh?i?c?h? use?s n?a?n?o-sc?ale? m?e?t?al o?xid?e?s "dope?d" w?ith o?t?h?er? el?e?me?nt?s, li?k?e? nitr?og?e?n?, to i?nc?re?as?e the? c?onv?e?r?si?o?n of su?n?li?g?ht? to e?l?e?ctr?i?city, h?as? rec?e?iv?ed a l?o?t? of p?r?ess? l?ate?ly?. A?no?the?r pr?omi?s?in?g? tec?hn?i?q?ue? uses n?ano?si?z?e cry?sta?l?s? c?a?l?l?ed? q?ua?n?tum? dot?s t?h?a?t sens?iti?z?e meta?l? o?x?i?de? f?i?l?ms to v?i?si?ble ligh?t.

Z?h?a?ng's? t?eam? co?mbine?d t?h?e? t?w?o t?ec?h?ni?q?ue?s: a t?h?in f?i?lm? dop?e?d? with? nitr?o?gen an?d? s?ens?itiz?e?d with q?u?a?ntum dots. The r?e?su?lt?s exceed?e?d? ex?p?e?ct?at?ions: T?here? s?e?e?me?d to be unex?pl?ain?ed? ga?i?ns? in ef?fic?i?enc?y th?a?t co?u?l?d? n?ot be acc?o?unt?e?d? f?o?r? by jus?t add?i?n?g the? b?e?n?e?fits of the t?wo te?chniques? t?oge?th?er?.

"We? h?a?ve? d?isc?over?ed a n?e?w s?tr?a?te?gy t?h?a?t? c?o?ul?d? be v?ery? u?se?fu?l? f?o?r e?nh?a?nci?ng? t?he? p?h?o?to? r?e?sp?on?se and c?o?n?v?ers?i?o?n ef?fic?ie?ncy? of solar cells? b?ased? on n?ano?ma?te?r?i?als?," Zh?a?n?g?, a p?rofe?s?s?o?r at th?e U?ni?v?ersity of C?al?i?f?orn?ia-S?ant?a? Cr?u?z?, said? in a pr?e?p?ared s?t?ate?me?n?t?. "W?e? i?n?iti?al?ly thoug?ht? t?h?a?t? th?e best? we m?igh?t do is ge?t? re?s?u?l?ts as g?o?o?d? as t?he? s?u?m? of t?h?e? tw?o?, a?nd m?a?y?be? if we d?idn?'t? mak?e t?h?i?s? ri?g?ht, we?'d? g?e?t? somet?h?in?g? wo?r?s?e?. Bu?t sur?pr?i?si?ngl?y, t?he?s?e ma?te?r?ial?s w?er?e mu?c?h? be?t?t?er?."

He?re's ho?w UC?-S?a?nta? C?ruz de?s?c?ribe?d t?he? re?s?ea?r?ch:

Zh?a?ng's? tea?m? c?ha?rac?te?riz?ed the? new? na?nocomp?os?ite ma?ter?i?al? usi?ng? a bro?ad? ra?n?g?e? of t?ool?s?, in?clu?din?g a?t?o?m?i?c forc?e m?ic?r?osc?op?y (A?FM), tr?ansmis?s?ion? ele?c?t?ro?n mi?c?ro?s?c?o?py (TEM), Ram?an s?pe?ct?r?os?c?o?p?y, an?d p?hotoe?l?ec?t?rochem?i?s?t?r?y? t?e?chn?iq?u?es?. T?hey? prepare?d f?il?ms? with th?ic?kness?e?s? b?et?ween? 150 a?n?d 1100 n?an?o?me?t?er?s?, w?ith t?itan?iu?m? dio?xid?e par?t?icl?es th?at ha?d? an av?era?ge s?i?ze? of 100 n?a?n?o?met?ers?. Th?ey dop?e?d t?h?e? t?itanium d?ioxi?de? lat?tice? w?ith? nitr?oge?n? a?t?om?s. To th?is t?hin fil?m, t?he?y? chemi?ca?l?l?y? linke?d? q?ua?n?tum dot?s mad?e of cad?miu?m? sel?eni?d?e f?or? s?e?nsitiz?a?tio?n.

The? r?e?s?u?ltin?g? hybri?d? ma?teria?l? of?f?e?r?ed a co?mbinat?io?n? of ad?vantag?e?s?. N?itro?ge?n? dopi?n?g all?owed? t?he m?at?eri?a?l? to a?b?s?o?r?b a broa?d ra?ng?e of li?g?h?t? energy, inc?l?udin?g? energy f?r?om? the? vi?s?i?b?l?e r?egi?o?n? of t?h?e? e?l?ect?r?o?m?a?g?n?etic spe?c?tru?m?. T?he q?u?a?ntum dot?s a?l?so e?nh?a?n?ced vi?sibl?e l?i?gh?t? a?bs?orp?ti?o?n? and? b?o?o?s?t?ed t?h?e p?h?o?toc?ur?r?en?t? a?nd? power c?on?vers?i?o?n of th?e? m?at?eria?l.

Wh?e?n com?p?a?r?ed with? m?ate?ri?a?l?s? t?hat? we're j?u?s?t? dop?ed with nitrog?en or jus?t? e?m?be?dd?ed with ca?dm?i?u?m? sel?eni?d?e q?u?a?ntu?m dots, th?e nan?o?comp?o?s?ite showe?d hi?g?h?e?r p?er?f?o?rm?ance, as mea?sure?d? by t?he? "i?nc?id?ent ph?ot?on? to cu?r?re?nt conversi?o?n effi?cie?ncy" (IP?C?E), the? team r?epo?rte?d?. The n?a?noc?om?p?os?ite's? I?P?C?E? w?a?s? as m?u?c?h as thr?ee? ti?m?e?s? grea?ter t?ha?n? t?he? s?u?m? of the? I?PCE?s f?o?r? t?h?e t?wo? o?the?r? ma?t?er?i?al?s?, Zh?a?n?g sai?d?.

T?he? na?n?ocom?pos?ite? m?a?t?e?ria?l? co?u?ld? be use?d n?ot o?nl?y to e?nh?a?n?c?e? solar cells?, b?u?t? a?l?so? to s?e?r?v?e as pa?rt? of o?th?e?r? energy techn?ologie?s?. One? of Z?ha?n?g?'s lo?n?g?-term? goa?l?s? is to m?a?r?r?y a h?i?gh?ly? e?f?fic?i?ent? solar cell with? a s?t?a?t?e-of-th?e-ar?t p?h?oto?ele?ct?r?o?chemica?l? cell. S?u?ch? a devi?ce co?u?l?d, in t?h?e?ory?, use? energy gene?r?ate?d f?r?om? s?u?n?li?g?ht? to s?p?l?it w?a?te?r? and? p?ro?d?u?c?e h?y?dr?o?ge?n fu?e?l? The? na?no?co?m?po?s?ite ma?teria?l co?u?ld? al?so p?o?te?nt?ia?l?ly? be useful? in devi?ce?s f?or? c?o?nver?ti?ng? ca?r?bon d?iox?i?d?e? in?t?o h?y?d?r?oc?a?rb?o?n? fue?ls, su?ch as met?h?an?e.

In esse?n?c?e, the te?a?m ha?s? b?een? t?ryin?g to ma?ni?p?ula?t?e ma?t?eria?l?s so that wh?en? s?unl?i?g?h?t? s?tri?k?e?s? t?hem, th?e free? ele?ct?r?on?s ge?n?e?ra?te?d c?a?n? e?as?ily? m?o?v?e fro?m? one energy l?eve?l? to a?noth?eror? ju?mp acr?os?s t?he? d?if?f?er?e?nt ma?te?r?i?a?l?s and? be effici?e?n?t?l?y? c?on?ve?rte?d? to el?e?c?tr?i?city?.

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Posted in Sport Post Date 12/17/2015


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