New research shows solar cells can be more efficient with nanowire metal meshes that improve their light transmission and electrical conductivity.
Transparent electrodes are a critical component of photocells and electronic displays. Collecting electricity in a solar cell or supplying it to a display requires a conductive contact, such as metal, that must transmit light well (either incoming or outgoing). Since metals are opaque, now their oxides are used, most often indium and tin oxide.
However, scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed technology that allows not only to eliminate the use of expensive rare earths, but also to improve the efficiency of such systems..
The team demonstrated a scalable method for creating arrays and meshes of 1 cm2 metal nanowires with customizable dimensions and geometries below 100 nm. The presence of such small nanostructures allows the passage of more sunlight, and the ordered structure of the lattices increases the number of electrical contacts between nanowires, improving conductivity.
Traditional methods of producing nanomaterials produce square areas of 100 microns, but scientists have managed to produce a structure with an area six orders of magnitude larger. Next, they will focus on increasing the conductivity of nanogrids..
We also reported earlier that with using lenses scientists have nearly doubled the efficiency of solar panels for roofs.
How Nanotechnology is boosting Solar energy
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: nathanielrgibson