Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Nanocoax' solves solar cell 'thick and thin' dilemma

Date:
June 9, 2010
Source:
Boston College
Summary:
Researchers report developing a "nanocoax" technology that can support a highly efficient thin film solar cells. The nanocoax structures prove to be thick enough to absorb a sufficient amount of light, yet thin enough to extract current with increased efficiency.

A nano-scale solar cell inspired by the coaxial cable offers greater efficiency than any previously designed nanotech thin film solar cell by resolving the "thick & thin" challenge inherent to capturing light and extracting current for solar power, Boston College researchers report in the current online edition of the journal Physica Status Solidi.

The quest for high power conversion efficiency in most thin film solar cells has been hampered by competing optical and electronic constraints. A cell must be thick enough to collect a sufficient amount of light, yet it needs to be thin enough to extract current.

Physicists at Boston College found a way to resolve the "thick & thin" challenge through a nanoscale solar architecture based on the coaxial cable, a radio technology concept that dates back to the first trans-Atlantic communications lines laid in the mid 1800s.

"Many groups around the world are working on nanowire-type solar cells, most using crystalline semiconductors," said co-author Michael Naughton, a professor of physics at Boston College. "This nanocoax cell architecture, on the other hand, does not require crystalline materials, and therefore offers promise for lower-cost solar power with ultrathin absorbers. With continued optimization, efficiencies beyond anything achieved in conventional planar architectures may be possible, while using smaller quantities of less costly material."

Optically, the so-called nanocoax stands thick enough to capture light, yet its architecture makes it thin enough to allow a more efficient extraction of current, the researchers report in PSS's Rapid Research Letters. This makes the nanocoax, invented at Boston College in 2005 and patented last year, a new platform for low cost, high efficiency solar power.

Constructed with amorphous silicon, the nanocoax cells yielded power conversion efficiency in excess of 8 percent, which is higher than any nanostructured thin film solar cell to date, the team reported.

The ultra-thin nature of the cells reduces the Staebler-Wronski light-induced degradation effect, a major problem with conventional solar cells of this type, according to the team, which included Boston College Professors of Physics Krzysztof Kempa and Zhifeng Ren, as well as BC students and collaborators from Solasta Inc., of Newton, Mass., and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Institute of Microengineering in Switzerland. The research was funded in part by a Technology Incubator grant from the Department of Energy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. J. Naughton, K. Kempa, Z. F. Ren, Y. Gao, J. Rybczynski, N. Argenti, W. Gao, Y. Wang, Y. Peng, J. R. Naughton, G. McMahon, T. Paudel, Y. C. Lan, M. J. Burns, A. Shepard, M. Clary, C. Ballif, F.-J. Haug, T. Söderström, O. Cubero, C. Eminian. Efficient nanocoax-based solar cells. physica status solidi (RRL) - Rapid Research Letters, 2010; 4 (7): 181 DOI: 10.1002/pssr.201004154

Cite This Page:

Boston College. "'Nanocoax' solves solar cell 'thick and thin' dilemma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100607165738.htm>.
Boston College. (2010, June 9). 'Nanocoax' solves solar cell 'thick and thin' dilemma. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100607165738.htm
Boston College. "'Nanocoax' solves solar cell 'thick and thin' dilemma." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100607165738.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins