Nanotechnology is more than just a set of applications. When people wonder what the next big product will be, the truth is more nuanced. Prof.Jillian Buriak, a chemistry professor at the University of Alberta, calls it a quiet revolution. For the first time in history, scientists from all disciplines are working together towards solving big problems; the ability to control matter at the atomic and molecular level is how nanotechnology is opening doors all across the sciences.
“I call this a quiet revolution because for the first time, and I think in the history of science, is that you’ve got the distinct silos – you have the biologists talking to the physicists, talking to the medical people – all using the tools and the enabling technologies of nanotechnology to solve these big problems. “
One area that Prof. Buriak’s research addresses is the critical need for renewable energy.
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Can Nanotechnology Turn Windows Into Solar Panels?
Solar energy technology is becoming more efficient and more effective while also becoming invisible to the naked eye – here’s how.
Quantum dot solar windows go non-toxic, colorless, with record efficiency
A luminescent solar concentrator is an emerging sunlight harvesting technology that has the potential to disrupt the way we think about energy; It could turn any window into a daytime power source.
“In these devices, a fraction of light transmitted through the window is absorbed by nanosized particles (semiconductor quantum dots) dispersed in a glass window, re-emitted at the infrared wavelength invisible to the human eye, and wave-guided to a solar cell at the edge of the window,” said Victor Klimov, lead researcher on the project at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Using this design, a nearly transparent window becomes an electrical generator, one that can power your room’s air conditioner on a hot day or a heater on a cold one.”
Read the Full Article Here: Quantum dot solar windows go non-toxic, colorless, with record efficiency
Silicon Nanowire-Based Solar Cells
Nanotechnology celebrates 25 years in an interview with the author of one of the most cited and downloaded papers: ‘Silicon nanowire-based solar cells’. It demonstrates the fabrication of silicon nanowire-based solar cells on silicon wafers and on multicrystalline silicon thin films on glass.
Silke Christiansen, from the Helmholtz-Center Berlin for Materials and Energy, talks about the motivation behind the paper and the impact that it has had on further research.
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More Reading on Solar Energy – Nanotechnology – Quantum Dots
Scientists with the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for the first time discovered how to make perovskite solar cells out of quantum dots and used the new material to convert sunlight to electricity with 10.77 percent efficiency.
The research, Quantum dot-induced phase stabilization of a-CsPbI3perovskite for high-efficiency photovoltaics, appears in the journal Science.
Read More Here: NREL: Nanoscale confinement leads to new all-inorganic perovskite with exceptional solar cell properties – Using Quantum Dots to Create Increased Solar Cell Efficiency: Colorado School of Mines
Nanotechnology could improve the efficiency of organic photovoltaic technology, researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have demonstrated. In general, solar cells made from organic materials offer a cheap, simple and sustainable approach to harvesting light from the sun. But there is an urgent need to improve the efficiency of these organic cells. The performance of these devices is limited by the re-emission of light that has been absorbed, thus detracting energy that should be converted to electricity.
A Rice University laboratory has found a way to turn common carbon fiber into graphene quantum dots, tiny specks of matter with properties expected to prove useful in electronic, optical and biomedical applications.
Quantum dots, discovered in the 1980s, are semiconductors that contain a size- and shape-dependent band gap. These have been promising structures for applications that range from computers, LEDs, solar cellsand lasers to medical imaging devices. The sub-5 nanometer carbon-based quantum dots produced in bulk through the wet chemical process discovered at Rice are highly soluble, and their size can be controlled via the temperature at which they’re created.
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