Feeds

Tubular cells: Georgia Tech demos nano-scale solar fab

Solyndra dream lives on in miniature

A new approach to endpoint data protection

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. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?