Novel Photovoltaics Enabled by Nanoscience (NanoEnabledPV)
Novel Photovoltaics Enabled by Nanoscience
Start date: Aug 1, 2013,
End date: Jul 31, 2018
The “NanoEnabledPV” research program will exploit the fundamental benefits of nanomaterials and address their challenges to make low-cost solar cells a reality. NanoEnabledPV contains three focus areas necessary to reach our goal:1) “Nano surface doping” – surface-controlled nanomaterial properties. We will explore using charged surface oxides and surface ligands with dipole moments as a novel doping mechanism. We will make the first nanowire solar cell using a surface “p-n” junction. The lessons learned from single nanowire studies will be extended to make large-scale, high efficiency metal-insulator-semiconductor solar cells.2) “Solar highways” – metal nanowire core-semiconductor shell photovoltaics. We will examine the optical and electrical properties of silver and copper nanowires coated with various semiconductor shells for the first time. This novel device structure can achieve complete absorption using 10 times thinner semiconductor layers compared to standard thin-film structures and also enables facile charge extraction via the metal core.3) “Nanophotography” – hierarchical synthesis and assembly based on optical resonances in nanostructures. We will develop a new type of mask-free photolithography in solution with resolution far below the diffraction limit. This will enable rational, large-scale synthesis of ordered hierarchical structures that can be assembled into complex 3-D networks.Together, these programs that sit at the intersection of physics, chemistry, materials science and engineering will provide the active light-absorbing materials needed for next generation solar energy conversion schemes, a deep understanding of how they work at the nanoscale and methods for integrating them into macroscale devices. We are requesting 1.5 Million Euros over a period of 5 years that will be used to hire 2 PhD students, 2 postdoctoral researchers and buy the equipment needed to build a unique nanowire solar cell fabrication and analysis lab.
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