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Scientists Develop Nanoparticle Solar Cells Smaller, More Efficient Than Traditional Solar Panels

June 16, 2014

The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical %7E Computer Engineering researchers believe their new solar technology would also be cheaper than the traditional panels, large and rectangular.

"This is a material innovation, that's the first part, and with this new material we can build new device structures," Ning said in the release. "Iodide is almost a perfect ligand for these quantum solar cells with both high efficiency and air stability-no one has shown that before."

The new nanoparticle solar cells rely on two semiconductors: n- and p-type. Typically, electron-rich n-type materials attach themselves to oxygen atoms when exposed to air, which forfeits their electrons and turns them into p-types. The pride of his team's study, Ning and his colleagues has developed a new n-type material that is not altered when exposed to the air.

If these new nanoparticle solar cells made it into everyday life, the world could have better weather satellites, remote controllers, pollen detectors and more. Given their tiny size and potential for high performance, the nanoparticle solar cells could also lower the price and accessibility of adding a solar energy generator to one's home.

Keeping both n- and p-type materials stable at the same time significantly boosts efficiency in how the cells absorb and output energy. In Ning's study, the team achieved eight percent solar power conversion efficiency, the best on record.

"The field of colloidal quantum dot photovoltaics requires continued improvement in absolute performance, or power conversion efficiency," Sargent said in the release. "The field has moved fast, and keeps moving fast, but we need to work toward bringing performance to commercially compelling levels."

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Source: Global Data Point

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