New Nanoparticle Could Replace Traditional Solar Panels

New Nanoparticle Could Replace Traditional Solar Panels

A new type of nanoparticle has been designed by University of Toronto investigators to make solar panels more efficient and much cheaper. The researchers used colloidal quantum dots to create a new generation of solar panels to replace big, bulky solar cells for energy production.

The nanoparticle is so flexible that it could be easily mixed into paint, and spread on roofs to collect sunlight. The areas that find installation of traditional solar panels very expensive will be able to seek significant benefits from the low-cost installation of solar cells. In a bid to convert sunlight into electricity, two types of materials are used by quantum dots to function. First is n-type material, which is rich in negatively-charged elections. And the other is p-type that has few electrons, and possesses a positive charge.

"This is a material innovation, that's the first part, and with this new material we can build new device structures. Iodide is almost a perfect [atom to bind with metal] for these quantum solar cells with both high efficiency and air stability - no one has shown that before", said ZhijunNing, post-doctoral researcher and co-leader of the research.

New infrared LED's and lasers will also be able to work on the new nanoparticles along with remote controllers, pollution detectors, and better gas sensors. Satellite communications and weather observations could also be improved by manufacturing components from this design.

However, there is a long way ahead before researchers make it possible for the technology to remove traditional designs in terms of efficiency. As a matter of fact, the tiny cells are 8% efficient compared to 20 to 30% efficiency of traditional models. However, the cheaper cost can make the new technology revolutionary, provided it becomes a little more efficient.


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