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New Quantum Dot Photovoltaics Could Double Solar Cell Efficiency
Posted By Cameron Scott On June 21, 2010 @ 5:00 pm In Environment,Green Technology,Innovation,Renewable Energy,Solar Power | 4 Comments
You’ve heard the statistic: enough solar power  hits the Earth in an hour to meet our energy  needs for an entire year. The trick is harnessing it. Today’s solar cells make use of just under a third of the energy hitting them, overheating to create “hot electrons” that escape before they can be converted into electricity. A study published in this week’s Science  demonstrates a new type of solar technology could harness quantum dots to convert two-thirds of the sun’s energy into electrical power.
The technology utilizes semiconductor nanocrystals, or “quantum dots” — which slow the cooling of hot electrons to create time to grab them — and a titanium dioxide conductor to accomplish the task. A previous study pioneered the use of quantum dots to slow the electrons’ cooling. The recently documented breakthrough is significant for its use of an inexpensive titanium dioxide “wire.”
Besides taking the discovery from theoretical science into practical engineering, one big problem still remains: hot electrons also lose their energy as they travel along the wire.
+ Science 
Via Science Daily 
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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/new-quantum-dot-solar-cells-could-double-efficiency/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/06/21/new-quantum-dot-solar-cells-could-double-efficiency/photovoltaic_array/
 solar power: http://inhabitat.com/solar-power/
 energy: http://www.inhabitat.com/energy
 Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/328/5985/1543
 Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/06/21/new-quantum-dot-solar-cells-could-double-efficiency/schematic-edit/
 + University of Minnesota: http://www1.umn.edu/news/news-releases/2010/UR_CONTENT_211711.html
 + University of Texas: http://www.utexas.edu/news/2010/06/17/quantum_dot_research/
 Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100617143930.htm
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