• 5 minutes Global Economy-Bad Days Are coming
  • 8 minutes IT IS FINISHED. OPEC Victorious
  • 14 minutes Venezuela continues to sink in misery
  • 17 minutes Could Tesla Buy GM?
  • 35 mins Paris Is Burning Over Climate Change Taxes -- Is America Next?
  • 45 mins OPEC Cuts Deep to Save Cartel
  • 2 hours What will the future hold for nations dependent on high oil prices.
  • 2 hours Price Decline in Chinese Solar Panels
  • 3 hours And the War on LNG is Now On
  • 7 hours Alberta Cuts Push Prices Too High
  • 1 hour How High Can Oil Prices Rise? (Part 2 of my previous thread)
  • 1 day Congrats: 4 journalists and a newspaper are Time’s Person of the Year
  • 2 hours USGS Announces Largest Continuous Oil Assessment in Texas and New Mexico
  • 2 days Permian Suicide
  • 2 days Asian stocks down
  • 4 hours Rigs Down

Breaking News:

Total To Boost Exploration In Mauritania

Saudi Arabia’s Biggest Geopolitical Error

Saudi Arabia’s Biggest Geopolitical Error

Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen…

Will Self-Driving Cars Ever Be Safe Enough?

Will Self-Driving Cars Ever Be Safe Enough?

Collisions involving self-driving cars are…

Scientists Discover New Mechanism to Generate More Energy from Sunlight

A recent study published in the journal ACS Nano, and discussed at a press conference at the American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exhibition in Indianapolis on Monday, has discovered a new mechanism for producing energy from sunlight.

Dan Bonnell, the vice provost for research at the University of Pennsylvania and Trustee Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, led the study that involved a collaboration from various researchers and laboratories at the university. They hope that their findings could improve technologies for generating electricity from solar energy and create more efficient optoelectronic communications devices.

Bonell said that they are “excited to have found a process that is much more efficient than conventional photoconduction. Using such an approach could make solar energy harvesting and optoelectronic devices much better.”

Related article: Suntech Solar Reels as Directors Quit Over Cash Flow

Science Daily explains the nature of the research and how it works:

“The new work centers on plasmonic nanostructures, specifically, materials fabricated from gold particles and light-sensitive molecules of porphyin, of precise sizes and arranged in specific patterns. Plasmons, or a collective oscillation of electrons, can be excited in these systems by optical radiation and induce an electrical current that can move in a pattern determined by the size and layout of the gold particles, as well as the electrical properties of the surrounding environment.”

Basically the materials can improve the scattering of light, potentially increasing the absorption of sunlight in photovoltaic solar cells.

Bonell and his colleagues first began the research that led to this study, and discovery, back in 2010 with the publishing of a paper in ACS Nano which spoke of the fabrication of plasmonic nanostructures, which could induce and conduct an electrical current across molecules.

Bonell stated that “we hypothesized that, when plasmons are excited to a high energy state, we should be able to harvest the electrons out of the material. If we could do that, we could use them for molecular electronics device applications, such as circuit components or solar energy extraction.”

Related article: Germany Proves Sunshine is not Necessary for a Booming Solar Industry

In order to examine the plasmonic nanostructures further and better determine its uses, the researchers varied the different components of the mechanism, both the size of the gold nanoparticles, the size of the prophyin molecules, and the spacing between the different particles.

Bonell explained that “in our measurements, compared to conventional photoexcitation, we saw increases of three to 10 times in the efficiency of our process. And we didn't even optimize the system. In principle you can envision huge increases in efficiency.”

By improving the efficiency of light absorption and energy produced, they could greatly increase the power produced from small solar cells. Bonell suggested that “you could imagine having a paint on your laptop that acted like a solar cell to power it using only sunlight.”

By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News