Scientists from the Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Materials at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) are researching a completely new method for harvesting the sun’s energy.
Martin Moskovits, a professor of Chemistry at UCSB, stated that, “it is the first radically new and potentially workable alternative to semiconductor-based solar conversion devices to be developed in the past 70 years or so.”
Traditional photoprocesses use a technology that was developed over many decades. Sunlight hits a semiconductor material and the photon excites the electrons causing them to jump out of their atoms and leave positively charges ‘holes’. This creates a current as other electrons move to fill in the gaps in the atoms.