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Efficient and Flexible solar cells from Nanopillars

 

From Nanopillars!

Nano what?

Nanopillars… these are an optically active arrangement of semiconductors designed in arrays of nanoscale pillars from low-cost and flexible material, each a single crystal with dimensions measured in billionths of a meter.

Tell me about solar cells too…

A solar cell’s basic job is to convert light energy into charge-carrying electrons and ‘holes’ (the absence of an electron), which flow to electrodes to produce a current.

Why bother?

To take advantage of abundant solar energy in nature we need to be able to mass-produce efficient solar cells…Unlike a typical two-dimensional solar cell, a nanopillar array offers much more surface for collecting light. Therefore a nanopillar arrangement is,

  1. More sensitive to light
  2. Has a greatly enhanced ability to separate electrons from holes
  3. And is a more efficient collector of these charge carriers
flexible solar cells made from nanopillars

An image of the flexible solar cell made from nanopillars. (Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Who is involved?

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley.

 

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