Tuesday 23 October 2007

Super Thin Solar Cells Generate Their Own Energy

The latest solar cell from a team of chemists at Harvard University, are developing minuscule two hundredth the size of a normal human hair, solar cells. Tiny silicon nanowires convert light into electrical energy, producing the equivalent of about 200 picowatts. Incoming light produces electrons in the outer shell of the wire's multilayered structure, which are eventually moved down micropores into its core, producing electrical charges. Enough at a nanoscale level, to run ultra-low power electronics worn on and in the body. Though not much (that's only two hundred billionths of a watt), Charles Lieber (Team Leader) explains that, on a nanoscale level, it should be enough to run ultra-low power electronics that could be worn both on and inside the body.

Lieber's solar cells have a conversion efficiency of about 3.4%, which is scalable to 5% depending on the incoming light's intensity. The next step, he says, will be to find new ways to boost their efficiency - once they reach 10-15%, he expects they will even become practical for large-scale applications. There’s no physical reason it couldn’t be higher. I’m pretty optimistic that we’ll be able to track down the efficiency issue...

Source: Ecofriend & Video
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