How Nanotechnology is Providing a Solution for Photovoltaic Systems


Photovoltaic (PV) systems, which harvest sustainable and clean energy from the sun, accumulate dirt or particles like dust, water and sand. This build-up leads to a reduction in the light energy reaching the solar cells and lowers their power output by up to 50%, according to some studies. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep them clean. However, the process of regular cleaning and maintenance could be costly and also waste water.

Enter the EU-funded SolarSharc project, whose highly repellent  technology will eliminate surface contamination, optimising energy efficiency and PV yield. In an interview published on the European Coatings website, David Hannan from project partner Opus Materials Technologies said developments in anti-soiling coatings are being driven by the sustainability agenda and the need for clean power. He highlighted the challenges involved in the production of solar energy and added that “dust, dirt and fouling of solar panels are major sources of inefficiency and loss in solar generation, resulting in lost generating capacity to a value in excess of EUR 40bn p.a.

In turn this causes over 100M tonnes of CO2 emission through fossil fuel generation in order to make up the shortfall.” Hannan pointed to the drawbacks of existing self-cleaning coatings, such as “a short lifetime (2-3 years), poor transparency and high cost (over €260/litre). This means that they are not usually cost-effective and are not deployed, with losses accepted as the lesser economic impact for the operation of the plant.”

Clean me Sign

Improved Efficiency

According to the project website, SolarSharc’s nanoparticle structure provides “high transparency, improving generating efficiency by 4 % and improving aesthetic quality for architectural applications. Silica chemistry is non-hazardous and permits scaleable manufacture.” In addition to being durable and self-cleaning, SolarSharc is “anti-reflective, resistant to high temperatures and offers outstanding weather resistance.” Thanks to its anti-reflective properties, SolarSharc “leads to an improvement in transmittance to enable over 93 % of all available light to reach the PV semiconductor.”

The inorganic-organic hybrid coating of SolarSharc is only a few microns thick, as explained on the project website. “Based on a silica (glass) network chemically bound to non-stick organic groups Solar Sharc [coating] readily repels water and water-borne contamination. Rather than wetting the surface, water droplets form beads on the coating and readily roll-off at low angles.” It also states that solid contamination, such as dust and sand, is “easily removed by the action of wind or by the use of minimum amounts of water.”

The markets targeted by the  are utility-scale solar and the rapidly growing building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). Project partners hope to commercialise the SolarSharc coating and new self-cleaning BIPV modules “from the current TRL6 [technology readiness level 6] prototype to operational demonstration (TRL9) in BIPV, certification, commercialisation and supply chain measures to deliver rapid growth,” as stated on CORDIS.

 Explore further: Self-cleaning solar panel coating optimizes energy collection, reduces costs



Graphene Solar Panels

1-Graphene solar-panel-array-img_assist-400x301Solar panel electricity systems, also known as solar photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun’s energy (photons) and convert it into electricity. PV cells are made from layers of semiconducting material, and produce an electric field across the layers when exposed to sunlight. When light reaches the cell, some of it is absorbed into the semiconducting material and causes electrons to break loose and flow. This flow of electrons is an electric current, that can be drawn out and used for powering outside devices. This current, along with the cell’s voltage (a result of built-in electric fields), define the power that the solar cell is capable of producing. It is worth mentioning that a PV cell can produce electricity without direct sunlight, but more sunshine equals more electricity.

A module, or panel, is a group of cells connected electrically and packaged together. several panels can also form an array, which can provide more electricity and be used for powering larger instruments and devices.

Different kinds of Solar cells

Solar cells are roughly divided into three categories: Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline and Thin Film. Most of the world’s PVs are based on a variation of silicon. The purity of the silicon, or the more perfectly aligned silicon molecules are, affects how good it will be at converting solar energy. Monocrystalline solar cells (Mono-Si, or single-crystal-Si) go through a process of cutting cylindrical ingots to make silicon wafers, which gives the panels their characteristic look. They have external even coloring that suggests high-purity silicon, thus having the highest efficiency rates (typically 15-20%). They are also space efficient (their efficiency allows them to be small) and live longer than other kinds of solar panels. Alas, they are more expensive than other kinds and tend to be damaged by external dirt or snow.

Polycrystalline silicon (p-Si or mc-Si) solar cells do not go through the abovementioned process, and so are simpler and cost less than Monocrystalline ones. Their typical efficiency is 13-16%, due to lower silicon purity. They are also bigger and take up more space.

Thin-Film solar cells (TFSC), are made by depositing one or several thin layers of photovoltaic material onto a substrate. Different types of TFSCs are categorized by which photovoltaic material is deposited onto the substrate: Amorphous silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), copper indium gallium selenide (CIS/CIGS), polymer solar panels and organic photovoltaic cells (OPC). Thin-film modules have reached efficiencies of 7-13%. Their mass production is simple, they can be made flexible and are potentially cheaper to manufacture than crystalline-based solar cells. They do, however, take up a lot of space (hampering their use in residential applications) and tend to degrade faster than crystalline solar panels.

Solar power advantages and disadvantages

Solar power is free and infinite, and solar energy use indeed has major advantages. It is an eco-friendly, sustainable way of energy production. Solar energy systems today are also much cheaper than they were 20 years ago, and save money in electricity expenses. In addition, it is a much environmentally cleaner form of energy production that helps reduce global warming and coal pollution. It does not waste water like coal and nuclear power plants and is also considered to be a form of energy that is much safer for use.

Although solar power production is widely considered to be a positive thing, some downsides require mentioning. The initial cost of purchasing and installing solar panels can be substantial, despite widespread government subsidy programs and tax initiatives. Sun exposure is critical and so location plays a significant role in the generation of electricity. Areas that are cloudy or foggy for long periods of time will produce much less electricity. Other commonly argues disadvantages regard insufficiency of produced electricity and reliability issues.

Solar power applications

Common solar energy applications include various residential uses such as solar lighting, heating and ventilation systems. Many small appliances utilize solar energy for operation, like calculators, scales, toys and more. Agriculture and horticulture also employ solar energy for the operation of different aids like water pumps and crop drying machines. The field of transportation has been interested in solar powered vehicles for many years, including cars, planes and boats that are vigorously researched and developed. Solar energy also has various industrial applications, ranging from powering remote locations as well as space and satellite systems, to powering transportation signals, lighthouses, offshore navigation systems and many more.

Solar technologies are vigorously researched, aiming to lower costs and improve existing products as well as integrate PV systems in innovative products like PV-powered curtains, clothes and laptop cases.

Graphene and solar panels

Graphene is made of a single layer of carbon atoms that are bonded together in a repeating pattern of hexagons. It is a 2 dimensional material with amazing characteristics, which grant it the title “wonder material”. It is extremely strong and almost entirely transparent and also astonishingly conductive and flexible. Graphene is made of carbon, which is abundant, and can be a relatively inexpensive material. Graphene has a seemingly endless potential for improving existing products as well as inspiring new ones.

Solar cells require materials that are conductive and allow light to get through, thus benefiting from graphene’s superb conductivity and transparency. Graphene is indeed a great conductor, but it is not very good at collecting the electrical current produced inside the solar cell. Hence, researchers are looking for appropriate ways to modify graphene for this purpose. Graphene Oxide (GO), for example, is less conductive but more transparent and a better charge collector which can be useful for solar panels.

The conductive Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) is used with a non-conductive glass layer as the transparent electrodes in most organic solar panels to achieve these goals, but ITO is rare, brittle and makes solar panels expensive. Many researches focus on graphene as a replacement for ITO in transparent electrodes of OPVs. Others search for ways of utilizing graphene in improving overall performance of photovoltaic devices, mainly OPVs, as well as in electrodes, active layers, interfacial layers and electron acceptors.

Recent research in the field of graphene solar cells

In June 2013, researchers from MIT announced their aim to develop a new solar cell, made from graphene and molybdenum disulfide, which will be thin, light and efficient – up to a 1,000 times more so than silicon based panels. It is hoped to achieve the “ultimate power conversion possible” due to the unique method of stacking several layers of graphene and molybdenum disulfide. In August 2014, researchers from the same university developed a flexible transparent graphene-based electrode for graphene polymer solar cell. They report that this is the most efficient such electrode ever developed.

In March 2014, researchers from the University of Cincinnati discovered that adding even a small amount of graphene flakes to a polymer solar cell can improve the performance of the cell by as much as threefold the conventional non-graphene variant.

In December 2013, researchers from Singapore’s A*STAR institute discovered that graphene outperforms ITO as solar panels transparent electrodes, when stacking four graphene sheets.

Further reading


Swiss Centre for Electronics Makes Near Invisible Solar Modules

1-solarcellA Swiss research and development company said Tuesday it had discovered a way to make white solar modules, which can blend with a building’s “skin” to become virtually invisible.

The Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (SCEM), a non-profit company for applied research, said it had developed a new technology paving the way to making the world’s first white with no visible cells and connections.

“For decades architects have been asking for a way to customise the colour of solar elements to make them blend into a building’s skin,” it said in a statement.

The problem with the common blue-black solar modules, built to maximise sunlight absorption, is their “visually unaesthetic” appearance, which tends to hamper their acceptance, SCEM said.

“Currently, the market lacks photovoltaic products specifically designed to be integrated into buildings,” it said.

White, the most sought-after colour for its elegance and versatility, is especially tricky because it generally reflects light rather than absorbing it.

To solve the problem, SCEM said it had taken for converting infrared solar light into electricity and combined it with a special filter that “scatters the whole visible spectrum while transmitting infrared light”.

This method, it said, made it possible for crystalline silicon-based solar technologies to be molded into modules that blend seamlessly with building surfaces in any colour, including pure white. “The technology can be applied on top of an existing module or integrated into a new module during assembly, on flat or curved surfaces,” SCEM said.

In addition to use for buildings, it said it expected to see “significant interest” in the technology from the , for use in things like laptops, and from the car industry.

In addition to the aestethic appeal, white have other advantages, SCEM said.

Since the visible, reflected light will not contribute to heat, the solar cells are expected to work at temperatures 20 to 30 degrees Celsius below standard models, it said.

“White PV modules can also contribute to increase energy savings in buildings by keeping inner spaces cooler and reducing air conditioning costs,” it said, noting that several US cities had begun painting roofs white for the same reason.

Explore further: Fully integrating solar power into building design

Solar Energy for Saudi Just makes $ense

Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:54am EST By Gerard Wynn

QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8LONDON Feb 27 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has the world’s second best solar resource after Chile’s Atacama Desert, making investment in solar a no-brainer as an alternative to burning its most precious resource.

The Kingdom has for several years been talking up its plans to become a major player in solar power.

Four years ago a senior oil ministry official told Reuters: “We can export solar power to our neighbours on a very large scale and that is our strategic objective to diversify our economy. It will be huge.”

Since then the country has installed about 10 megawatts, a tiny fraction of cloudy England.

But the country has now detailed plans for installed renewable power capacity in 2020 and 2032 which could put the country among the world’s top five solar power producers.

The competitiveness of solar photovoltaic (PV) power depends on the installed cost (including the price of solar modules and installation costs); local solar irradiation; and the cost of the alternative, as illustrated by the retail power price plus subsidies.

NASA solar irradiation data show that parts of Saudi Arabia are second only to the world’s driest desert, in Chile.

Solar module demand would be boosted by a similar shift in other sunny, emerging economies with subsidised fossil fuel power.


Saudi Arabia is dependent on electricity both for energy and water through desalination.

The main source of electricity is burning crude oil and increasingly, natural gas.

The country burned some 192.8 million barrels of crude to generate 129 million megawatt hours (MWh) of power in 2010, Saudi and International Energy Agency data show.

Saudi power generators pay about $4 per barrel for their oil, industry data show.

That works out at a running cost of $0.006 per kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2010, excluding all other capital, fixed and operating costs.

But accounting for the opportunity cost of exporting crude oil at international prices of $113 per barrel raises the economic cost of oil-fired power generation to $0.13 per kWh, ignoring all non-fuel costs.

A simplified solar cost calculator developed by the U.S. Department of Energy‘s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates the cost of solar power at $0.07 per kWh under Saudi conditions.

That assumes a capacity factor of 33 percent as can be expected in sunnier locations in southern Saudi Arabia and a full capital cost of $1.5 per watt, a conservative estimate for utility-scale installations.

That is before taking into account the annual degradation of solar modules, and losses as result of dust, sand and high temperatures, none of which are deal-breakers.

The NREL calculator also appears to ignore DC to AC conversion losses which can cut power output by about 25 percent compared with nameplate DC capacity.



NREL has helped develop an open access database measuring solar irradiance, with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and sourced from NASA.

It is part of a Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment (SWERA) initiative started in 2001 with U.N. funding to advance the large-scale use of renewable energy technologies.

The data is measured at one-degree resolution globally averaged from 1983-2005 and calculated according to latitude and local weather.

Solar irradiance is calculated according to various formats, for example a flat surface laid horizontal to the Earth (“Global Horizontal Irradiance”), or tilted due south at the angle of local latitude (“Solar Tilt”), or tilted southwards and also tracking the sun (“Direct Normal Irradiance”, or DNI).

The data reinforce how Germany is not the most obvious place for the world’s leading solar market.

The sunniest region of southern Germany has a DNI of 3.39 kWh per square metre per day. (See Chart 1)

Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, has a DNI of 6.68 kWh, and the vast empty land south of the city is as sunny as 7.99 kWh.

The country’s Red Sea coastline north of the second biggest city Jeddah rises as high as 8.60 kWh.

That appears to be the second sunniest place on Earth, only over-shadowed by Chile’s Atacama desert which has a DNI of up to 9.77 kWh per square metre per day.



Local solar radiation determines how much power a given solar module will generate.

Capacity factor is a term which compares the electricity that a solar module actually generates compared with the theoretical maximum if it were running at full capacity all the time.

The standard test conditions (STC) for assigning the nameplate capacity of solar panels assume irradiance of 1,000 watts per square metre, or 24 kWh per square metre over 24 hours, at an ambient temperature of 25 degrees Celsius.

Such assumptions can be applied to actual field conditions recorded by the NASA data to calculate a capacity factor.

A solar panel located south of Riyadh, for example, would have a capacity factor of about 33 percent, given a local solar irradiance of 8 kWh, compared with test conditions of 24 kWh per day.


There are further real-world losses associated with solar power.

In Saudi Arabia, high temperatures are relevant, where power output falls by about 0.5 percent per degree Celsius above 25 degrees, according to NREL assumptions, probably not enough to undermine its competitiveness.

Other emerging economies have rapidly growing power demand and subsidised fossil fuel consumption including China and India.

The NASA data show that both these countries have locations where solar irradiation rivals Riyadh.

Unsubsidised solar power can replace fossil fuels at scale in such locations over the next decade at zero or negative cost, with implications both for solar module and fossil fuel demand.

To See NREL Solar Chart, Go Here:,41.36,9.56,51.09

Oerlikon completes the sale of its solar segment to Tokyo Electron

(Nanowerk News) Oerlikon announces the closing of the  sale of its Solar business to Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL). The contract to divest  the Solar business was signed on March 2, 2012. The transaction was structured  as a cash deal in which TEL acquires 100 % of the shares of Oerlikon Solar and  closed in line with the original expectations of the signed agreement resulting  in cash proceeds for Oerlikon amounting to CHF 250 million.

“The closing of this transaction marks another important step in  the optimization of our business portfolio. TEL, as a strategic buyer and  leading supplier of semiconductor production equipment, is well suited to  utilize the advantages of the thin film silicon solar technology in a  sustainable and successful manner”, said Dr. Michael Buscher, CEO of the  Oerlikon Group.

Hiroshi Takenaka, President and CEO of TEL, commented, “We can  look forward to further growth in demand for thin-film silicon photovoltaic  panels, particularly for large-scale power generation, as a result of their  superiority in actual energy generation in regions with abundant sunlight and  the cost advantages. Oerlikon Solar has world-leading technology in this field  relating to conversion efficiency and manufacturing costs. By combining its  technologies with the advanced technologies that TEL has nurtured in the  semiconductor production equipment business, we will be able to develop more  competitive devices. This acquisition is an undertaking intended to establish  the photovoltaic panel (PV) production equipment business as a new core business  that will support TEL’s growth strategy.”

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Installed price of solar photovoltaic systems in the U.S. continues to decline at a rapid pace

(Nanowerk News) The installed price of solar  photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States fell substantially in 2011  and through the first half of 2012, according to the latest edition of Tracking the Sun (“Tracking the Sun V: An Historical Summary of the Installed Price  of Photovoltaics in the United States from 1998 to 201”; pdf), an annual PV  cost-tracking report produced by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley  National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
The  median installed price of residential and commercial PV systems completed in  2011 fell by roughly 11 to 14 percent from the year before, depending on system  size, and, in California, prices fell by an additional 3 to 7 percent within the  first six months of 2012. These recent installed price reductions are  attributable, in large part, to dramatic reductions in PV module prices, which  have been falling precipitously since 2008.

The  report indicates that non-module costs—such as installation labor, marketing,  overhead, inverters, and the balance of systems—have also fallen significantly  over time.  “The drop in non-module costs is especially important,” notes report  co-author Ryan Wiser of Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies  Division, “as these costs can be most readily influenced by local, state, and  national policies aimed at accelerating deployment and removing market  barriers.” According to the report, average non-module costs for residential and  commercial systems declined by roughly 30 percent from 1998 to 2011, but have  not declined as rapidly as module prices in recent years. As a result,  non-module costs now represent a sizable fraction of the installed price of PV  systems, and continued deep reduction in the price of PV will require concerted  emphasis on lowering the portion of non-module costs associated with so-called “business process” or “soft” costs.

The report indicates that the median installed price of PV  systems installed in 2011 was $6.10 per watt (W) for residential and small  commercial systems smaller than 10 kilowatts (kW) in size and was $4.90/W for  larger commercial systems of 100 kW or more in size.  Utility-sector PV systems  larger than 2,000 kW in size averaged $3.40/W in 2011.  Report co-author Galen  Barbose, also of Berkeley Lab, stresses the importance of keeping these numbers  in context, noting that “these data provide a reliable benchmark for systems  installed in the recent past, but prices have continued to decline over time,  and PV systems being sold today are being offered at lower prices.”

Based on these data and on installed price data from other major  international PV markets, the authors suggest that PV prices in the United  States may be driven lower through large-scale deployment programs, but that  other factors are also important in achieving installed price reductions.

The market for solar PV systems in the United States has grown  rapidly over the past decade, as national, state and local governments offered  various incentives to expand the solar market and accelerate cost reductions.   This fifth edition in Berkeley Lab’s Tracking the Sun report series  describes historical trends in the installed price of PV in the United States,  and examines more than 150,000 residential, commercial, and utility-sector PV  systems installed between 1998 and 2011 across 27 states, representing roughly  76 percent of all grid-connected PV capacity installed in the United States.  Naïm Darghouth, also with Berkeley Lab, explains that “the study is intended to  provide policy makers and industry observers with a reliable and detailed set of  historical benchmarks for tracking and understanding past trends in the  installed price of PV.”

Prices Differ by Region and by Size and Type of  SystemThe study also highlights the significant variability in PV  system pricing, some of which is associated with differences in installed prices  by region and by system size and installation type. Comparing across U.S.  states, for example, the median installed price of PV systems less than 10 kW in  size that were completed in 2011 and ranged from $4.90/W to $7.60/W, depending  on the state.

It also shows that PV installed prices exhibit significant  economies of scale. Among systems installed in 2011, the median price for  systems smaller than 2 kW was $7.70/W, while the median price for large  commercial systems greater than 1,000 kW in size was $4.50/W.  Utility-scale  systems installed in 2011 registered even lower prices, with most systems larger  than 10,000 kW ranging from $2.80/W to $3.50/W.s

The report also finds that the installed price of residential PV  systems on new homes has generally been significantly lower than the price of  similarly sized systems installed as retrofits to existing homes, that building  integrated PV systems have generally been higher priced than rack-mounted  systems, and that systems installed on tax-exempt customer sites have generally  been priced higher than those installed at residential and for-profit commercial  customer sites.

Price Declines for PV System Owners in 2011 Were Offset  by Falling IncentivesState agencies and utilities in many regions offer rebates or  other forms of cash incentives for residential and commercial PV systems.   According to the report, the median pre-tax value of such cash incentives ranged  from $0.90/W to $1.20/W for systems installed in 2011, depending on system size.   These incentives have declined significantly over time, falling by roughly 80  percent over the past decade, and by 21 percent to 43 percent from just 2010 to  2011.  Rather than a direct cash incentive, some states with renewables  portfolio standards provide financial incentives for solar PV by creating a  market for solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs), and SREC prices have  also fallen dramatically in recent years.  These declines in cash incentives and  SREC prices have, to a significant degree, offset recent installed price  reductions, dampening any overall improvement in the customer economics of solar  PV.

In conjunction with this report, LBNL and the National Renewable  Energy Laboratory (NREL) have also issued a jointly authored summary report that  provides a high-level overview of historical, recent, and projected near-term PV  pricing trends in the United States.  That report summarizes findings on  historical price trends from LBNL’s Tracking the Sun V, along with several  ongoing NREL research activities to benchmark recent and current PV prices and  to track industry projections for near-term PV pricing trends.  The summary  report documents further installed price reductions for systems installed and  quoted in 2012.

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Super-Efficient solar-Energy Technology

Rice unveils super-efficient solar-energy technology

‘Solar steam’ so effective it can make steam from icy cold water

HOUSTON — (Nov. 19, 2012) — Rice University scientists have unveiled a revolutionary new technology that uses nanoparticles to convert solar energy directly into steam. The new “solar steam” method from Rice’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) is so effective it can even produce steam from icy cold water.

Details of the solar steam method were published online today in ACS Nano. The technology has an overall energy efficiency of 24 percent. Photovoltaic solar panels, by comparison, typically have an overall energy efficiency around 15 percent. However, the inventors of solar steam said they expect the first uses of the new technology will not be for electricity generation but rather for sanitation and water purification in developing countries.

“This is about a lot more than electricity,” said LANP Director Naomi Halas, the lead scientist on the project. “With this technology, we are beginning to think about solar thermal power in a completely different way.”

The efficiency of solar steam is due to the light-capturing nanoparticles that convert sunlight into heat. When submerged in water and exposed to sunlight, the particles heat up so quickly they instantly vaporize water and create steam. Halas said the solar steam’s overall energy efficiency can probably be increased as the technology is refined.

“We’re going from heating water on the macro scale to heating it at the nanoscale,” Halas said. “Our particles are very small — even smaller than a wavelength of light — which means they have an extremely small surface area to dissipate heat. This intense heating allows us to generate steam locally, right at the surface of the particle, and the idea of generating steam locally is really counterintuitive.”

To show just how counterintuitive, Rice graduate student Oara Neumann videotaped a solar steam demonstration in which a test tube of water containing light-activated nanoparticles was submerged into a bath of ice water. Using a lens to concentrate sunlight onto the near-freezing mixture in the tube, Neumann showed she could create steam from nearly frozen water.

Steam is one of the world’s most-used industrial fluids. About 90 percent of electricity is produced from steam, and steam is also used to sterilize medical waste and surgical instruments, to prepare food and to purify water.

Most industrial steam is produced in large boilers, and Halas said solar steam’s efficiency could allow steam to become economical on a much smaller scale.

People in developing countries will be among the first to see the benefits of solar steam. Rice engineering undergraduates have already created a solar steam-powered autoclave that’s capable of sterilizing medical and dental instruments at clinics that lack electricity. Halas also won a Grand Challenges grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create an ultra-small-scale system for treating human waste in areas without sewer systems or electricity.

“Solar steam is remarkable because of its efficiency,” said Neumann, the lead co-author on the paper. “It does not require acres of mirrors or solar panels. In fact, the footprint can be very small. For example, the light window in our demonstration autoclave was just a few square centimeters.”

Another potential use could be in powering hybrid air-conditioning and heating systems that run off of sunlight during the day and electricity at night. Halas, Neumann and colleagues have also conducted distillation experiments and found that solar steam is about two-and-a-half times more efficient than existing distillation columns.

Halas, the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, professor of physics, professor of chemistry and professor of biomedical engineering, is one of the world’s most-cited chemists. Her lab specializes in creating and studying light-activated particles. One of her creations, gold nanoshells, is the subject of several clinical trials for cancer treatment.

For the cancer treatment technology and many other applications, Halas’ team chooses particles that interact with just a few wavelengths of light. For the solar steam project, Halas and Neumann set out to design a particle that would interact with the widest possible spectrum of sunlight energy. Their new nanoparticles are activated by both visible sunlight and shorter wavelengths that humans cannot see.

“We’re not changing any of the laws of thermodynamics,” Halas said. “We’re just boiling water in a radically different way.”

Paper co-authors include Jared Day, graduate student; Alexander Urban, postdoctoral researcher; Surbhi Lal, research scientist and LANP executive director; and Peter Nordlander, professor of physics and astronomy and of electrical and computer engineering. The research was supported by the Welch Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

VIDEO is available at:

A copy of the ACS Nano paper is available at:

High-resolution images are available for download:

New solar steam technology developed at Rice University uses nanoparticles so effective at turning sunlight into heat that it can produce steam from icy-cold water. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

The solar steam device developed at Rice University has an overall energy efficiency of 24 percent, far surpassing that of photovoltaic solar panels. It may first be used in sanitation and water-purification applications in the developing world. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

Rice University graduate student Oara Neumann and scientist Naomi Halas are co-authors of new research on a highly efficient method of turning sunlight into heat. They expect their technology to have an initial impact as an ultra-small-scale system to treat human waste in developing nations without sewer systems or electricity. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to

Green Energy Wall Street Wonder in The Making! QTMM

Posted by  on Jan 28th, 2012 and filed under FeaturedTech. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

The beauty of this quantum dot is its ubiquitous use in so many life changing applications.

It’s all about a company that can make copious amounts of quantum dots for nanotechnology that the average person doesn’t understand, doesn’t know if you can see it with the naked eye, hasn’t a clue how it is used, what it is used for or what it even is.

I first read in Motley Fool a statement and loved it because it is so true, So, I’ll relay it again “the secret to making a fortune in the stock market is to identify a unique growth business poised to dominate a mass market.” You’ll want to remember that and invest for the future in nanotechnology. One company that meets the criteria as a growth business that will dominate a mass market is Quantum Materials Corp with their Tetrapod Quantum Dot’s (TQD).  They have multiple uses in a wide array of applications in many different sectors…not just solar, medical and visual displays.

Those were the primary reasons that I invested in this stock in the 1st place and as more and more uses for quantum dots are discovered every day,  it re-enforces that I made the right decision….”it’s the same as having ‘a diversified portfolio , all in one stock’.”[1]  An investment in this nanotechnology company that most people know nothing about is going to change how the world develops in ways completely unimaginative to most.

Tissue welding with lasers during surgery, selective cell isolation to eradicate cancers, Solar cells with up to 65% efficiency, displays that pop with vibrant colors, power consumption 50% less than existing means, 3D TV’s that could go into the realm of holographic realism, clothing and paints that change color with the whim of your desires.

Sounds far fetched?
So was Dick Tracy’s 2 way wrist radio/TV watch in 1964, precursor to cell phones today. The Quantum Materials Corporation developed the method to mass produce a nanocrystal called a QUANTUM DOT that will follow the world-changing technologies like Plastics 1920′s – 40′s, Biotech 1940′s – 60-s, Internet 1970′s – 90′s and now Nanotech.

The last press release with NanoAxis using Quantum Materials Corp TQD’s in their Cancer, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and depression research was eye opening.

Multiple applications like that in one sector of one market give credence to the depth of this technology into the diverse commercial markets opening up. Opto-electronics and the display screens that save energy proposed in the new QDLED for the iPhone 5 [2]  to the household light bulbs will all use Quantum Dots. Anything that has color associated with it is a candidate for QD use.

How broad is that? And the amazing part of this is it goes both ways. Not only do quantum dots give off vibrant light in every visible color spectrum but they absorb light in every spectrum to generate electricity.

Solar cells will power devices 24/7. This day and night production of electricity uses solar cells that generate power from the ultraviolet thru visible to the infrared lighting range to produce their power. To be more descriptive, sunlight at zenith (climax or high point) provides an irradiance of just over 1 kilowatt per square meter at sea level. Of this energy 527 watts is infrared radiation, 445 watts is visible light, and 32 watts is ultraviolet radiation. The wafer type solar cells available today can only process visible light. That leaves out over half of the energy available from IR and the remainder in the UV56% of the available energy to be converted to electricity is LOST using today’s solar cells.

Tomorrow using the Solterra Renewable Technology flexible solar cell you will be able to capture that lost energy in the IR and UV region. And what is really exciting about this new Nanotechnology with Tetrapod Quantum Dots is it’s absorption capability 24 hours a day! Like enhanced night vision goggles the IR at night (although it would be a small amount) is enough to continue generation of power around the clock.

You can’t say now that you didn’t have a chance to look into what could be the next Wall Street Wonder company with return potentials like Dell, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon had.

Investigate Quantum Materials Corp – ticker QTMM and follow the company developments, just don’t watch another life time opportunity pass you by. Life is too short waiting for the next one to come by.

Nano Labs Corp. (CTLE) Announces Progress as Company Builds North American Alliance

TORONTO — (Marketwire) — 11/09/12 — A Report to Shareholders released today by Nano Labs Corp. (OTCQB: CTLE) — a nanotechnology development company — brought encouraging news from the company’s recently appointed Chief Research and Innovation Officer. Dr. Victor Castano told shareholders, “on behalf of the Nano Labs Board of Directors, I am pleased to report that our new road map and business plan for success through 2013 aim to make Nano Labs the company to watch as a rising American star in emerging technologies.”

Dr. Castano said, “We have positioned our young company to fire on all cylinders. Our people, products and facilities have come together in a North American alliance that we believe uniquely positions us for aggressive growth and success across multiple industry sectors. Through our R&D facilities in Mexico, our headquarters in Detroit, and our marketing resources in Toronto, we are already working towards patent finalization, testing, certification and commercialization of five remarkable nanotech applications relating to energy, medicine, and industrial and consumer goods, respectively. I look forward to discussing these in more detail in the coming days and weeks as we file our new business plan, launch our new website, and finalize details involving patents and intellectual property rights.”

Dr. Castano remarked about two intriguing nanotech solutions. First, the company is working to finalize the patent application for a remarkable surface coating boasting fire-resistant characteristics at up to 1,500 degrees Celsius, which may be used in numerous types of industrial and consumer goods. The other solution is a process to turn organic solutions into applications for various industrial and commercial uses. In describing this process in the Shareholders’ Report, Dr. Castano added a touch of humor. “We have also developed a nanotech process whereby we turn organic solutions — such as acetone and ethanol (including tequila) — into diamond film for industrial and possibly consumer use. But of course, we have been, and will continue to be, very sober in the approach we take when turning tequila into diamonds.”

Altogether, the initiatives involve just a few of the innovations Dr. Castano brings with him as an internationally celebrated scientist working for some 30 years in the field of nanotechnology. Dr. Castano reported that as he works with a team of scientists, technicians and executive-level business and marketing professionals, Nano Labs is exploring other fronts to take full advantage of its diversified base of more than 500 peer-reviewed papers, products, and prototypes relating to energy & fuel, health & medicine, food & agriculture, and building & industrial materials.

“Nanotechnology no longer promises to change the world, the change is right now in progress. And I am delighted that we as shareholders of Nano Labs stock are all aboard a ship headed for what we believe could be hugely profitable and beneficial horizons. We are working to create products and materials that come with the satisfying investment benefit of making our industries stronger, our economies healthier, and our environment safer. Indeed, it’s amazing what science and industry are now capable of achieving through the modification and manipulation of matter at molecular and atomic scales,” Dr. Castano said.

“In addition, we believe that nanotechnology presents a potentially attractive opportunity for Nano Labs’ investors. Let’s just keep in mind that right now, we believe the world is looking at a sea of change in innovative nanotechnology, with research pointing to the prospect of $2.6 trillion in global revenues for the sector — representing 15 per cent of all projected global manufacturing — by 2014. These revenues contrast with $13 billion in 2004. That, in our estimation, is phenomenal growth,” he said.

“We here at Nano Labs believe that we are at the vanguard. In my estimation, we are riding the crest of a wave of such a significant impact that it effectively amounts to a new American industrial revolution. We hope that you join us on our journey,” Dr. Castano told shareholders.

“I look forward to keeping the Company’s shareholders up to date about our aggressive business plan to create strategic and commercial partnerships and joint ventures. In our view, prospects for long-term national and international relationships with significant global brand licensing and distribution partners are looking very good indeed. During my tenure as Chief Research and Innovation Officer, I will be lecturing at various of the leading R&D and education institutions in the world to discuss the promise of nanotechnology. I honestly believe that it is all forward from here,” Dr. Castano said.



About Nano Labs Corp.

Nano Labs Corp. (CTLE) (the “Company,” “we” or “us”), a Colorado corporation, was founded in October 2012, but it is able to rely upon resources that include over 30 years of research and development in nanotechnology and more than 500 peer-reviewed and published research papers and patents. The Company’s research and development team of scientists, designers, and engineers are focused on creating a portfolio of products of next-generation products in the consumer products, energy, materials science, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Through the use, and integration of proprietary nano compounds, our goal is to evolve everyday, existing products, into new, revolutionary products, in order to make the world a better place. Nano Labs shares are traded on the OTC Bulletin Board in the United States under the ticker CTLE. For more information, please visit

Forward looking statements

This press release contains forward-looking information within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1993 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and is subject to the safe harbor created by those laws. These forward-looking statements are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that are subject to significant uncertainties that involve known and unknown risks, many of which are beyond our control and are not guarantees of future performance. Actual outcomes and results could materially differ from what is expressed, implied, or forecasted in any such forward-looking statements. Risk factors listed from time to time in its news releases and its filings with the OTC Bulletin Board may materially and adversely affect the Company’s actual performance and future results.

New Power Generation Technique with a Hybrid Nanomaterial

Physics team demonstrates new power generation technique with a hybrid nanomaterial
(Nanowerk News) A University of Texas at Arlington physics professor has helped create a hybrid nanomaterial that can be used to convert light and thermal energy into electrical current, surpassing earlier methods that used either light or thermal energy, but not both.
Working with Louisiana Tech University assistant professor Long Que, UT Arlington associate physics professor Wei Chen and graduate students Santana Bala Lakshmanan and Chang Yang synthesized a combination of copper sulfide nanoparticles and single-walled carbon nanotubes.
The team used the nanomaterial to build a prototype thermoelectric generator that they hope can eventually produce milliwatts of power. Paired with microchips, the technology could be used in devices such as self-powering sensors, low-power electronic devices and implantable biomedical micro-devices, Chen said.
“If we can convert both light and heat to electricity, the potential is huge for energy production,” Chen said. “By increasing the number of the micro-devices on a chip, this technology might offer a new and efficient platform to complement or even replace current solar cell technology.”
In lab tests, the new thin-film structure showed increases by as much at 80 percent in light absorption when compared to single-walled nanotube thin-film devices alone, making it a more efficient generator.
Copper sulfide is also less expensive and more environment-friendly than the noble metals used in similar hybrids.
In October, the journal Nanotechnology published a paper on the work called “Optical and thermal response of single-walled carbon nanotube–copper sulfide nanoparticle hybrid nanomaterials “. In it, researchers also say also found that they could enhance the thermal and optical switching effects of the hybrid nanomaterial as much as ten times by using asymmetric illumination, rather than symmetric illumination.
Coauthors on the Nanotechnology paper from Louisiana Tech include Yi-Hsuan Tseng, Yuan He and Que, all of the school’s Institute for Micromanufacturing.
“Dr. Chen’s research with nanomaterials is an important advancement with the potential for far-reaching applications,” said Pamela Jansma, dean of the UT Arlington College of Science. “This is the kind of work that demonstrates the value of a research university in North Texas and beyond.”
Chen is currently receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop nanoparticle self-lighting photodynamic therapy for use against breast and prostate cancers. In 2010, he was the first to publish results in the journal Nanomedicine demonstrating that near infrared light could be used to heat copper sulfide nanoparticles for photothermal therapy in cancer treatment, which destroys cancer cells with heat between 41 and 45 degrees Celsius.
Next month, the Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology will publish Chen’s work successfully coupling gold nanoparticles with the copper sulfide nanoparticles for the photothermal therapy. Such a material would be less costly and potentially more effective than using gold particles alone, Chen said. The new paper is called “Local field enhanced Au/CuS nanocomposites as efficient photothermal transducer agents for cancer treatment.”
Chen is also leading a UT Arlington team exploring ways to develop various nanoparticles for radiation detection. That work is funded by a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Source: University of Texas at Arlington