Feeds

Tubular cells: Georgia Tech demos nano-scale solar fab

Solyndra dream lives on in miniature

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The idea that got Solyndra into so much trouble – that a tube-shaped solar cell could be more efficient than a traditional flat design – didn’t disappear when its highest-profile manufacturer collapsed. It remains a strong focus of research efforts.

There’s a good reason for this: if such designs can be fabricated at a competitive cost, you get a device that can collect the sun’s energy from many directions instead of just one.

The latest research into tube-shaped solar cells comes from Georgia Tech (abstract), where researchers have grown semiconducting nano-rods onto the surface of carbon fibres. The result is a fabrication technique that eliminates the high temperatures used in today’s fabs.

The Geogia Tech crew have grown bunched titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanorods on carbon fibres, so not only have they created a tubular structure for harvesting sunlight – they’ve done it on a flexible substrate.

Next step, scale it up: Georgia Tech's

tube-shaped nano-scale solar cells.

This, the researchers say, means that if they can get the fabrication technique out of the lab, their collectors could be woven into materials as flexible solar collectors – for example, solar clothing.

The team has demonstrated – and compared – the efficiency of two different techniques for depositing TiO2 onto the nanorods. The first approach was to use dissolved TI to grow the material as single-crystal nanorods; the second was to etch the rods into bunched arrays using hydrochloric acid.

The nanorods were then dye-sensitized to create solar collectors.

These bunched arrays, the researchers say, provided better conversion efficiency than the unbunched configuration – 1.28 percent versus 0.76 percent (which highlights that this is early-stage research). The researchers say the greater surface area of the bunched configuration allows more of the sensitising dye to be absorbed. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?