Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Solar Energy Nanotechnology: Carbon Nanotubes Used to Improve Efficiency

Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) scientists have demonstrated an ability to precisely grow skyscraper like "towers" composed of carbon nanotubes atop photovoltaic cells to extract more power from the sun.

The nanometer-scale scale towers, which would be coated by the special p-type and n-type semiconductor (p/n) junction materials used to generate electrical current, would increase the surface area available to produce electricity.

Reflections off the towers would provide more opportunity for each photon of sunlight to interact with the p/n junction of the cell. That would increase the power output from PV cells of a given size, or allow cells to be made smaller while producing the same amount of power.

Because their cells will be more efficient, it is believed they can use older and more mature p/n-type material technologies and less costly silicon wafers to hold down costs and rapidly advance the project into commercial products.

Full Azonano Article

Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI)

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