Doe Science news source
The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
  • 2012-10-26 14:15:00
  • Article ID: 595475

Scientists Demonstrate High-Efficiency Quantum Dot Solar Cells

Della Miller

AVS

Phone: 530-896-0477

Email: della@avs.org

Catherine Meyers

AIP

Phone: 301-209-3088

Email: cmeyers@aip.org

Research shows newly developed solar powered cells may soon outperform conventional photovoltaic technology. Scientists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have demonstrated the first solar cell with external quantum efficiency (EQE) exceeding 100 percent for photons with energies in the solar range. (The EQE is the percentage of photons that get converted into electrons within the device.) The researchers will present their findings at the AVS 59th International Symposium and Exhibition, held Oct. 28 — Nov. 2, in Tampa, Fla.

While traditional semiconductors only produce one electron from each photon, nanometer-sized crystalline materials such as quantum dots avoid this restriction and are being developed as promising photovoltaic materials. An increase in the efficiency comes from quantum dots harvesting energy that would otherwise be lost as heat in conventional semiconductors. The amount of heat loss is reduced and the resulting energy is funneled into creating more electrical current.

By harnessing the power of a process called multiple exciton generation (MEG), the researchers were able to show that on average, each blue photon absorbed can generate up to 30 percent more current than conventional technology allows. MEG works by efficiently splitting and using a greater portion of the energy in the higher-energy photons. The researchers demonstrated an EQE value of 114 percent for 3.5 eV photons, proving the feasibility of this concept in a working device.

Joseph Luther, a senior scientist at NREL, believes MEG technology is the right direction. “Since current solar cell technology is still too expensive to completely compete with non-renewable energy sources, this technology employing MEG demonstrates that the way in which scientists and engineers think about converting solar photons to electricity is constantly changing,” Luther said. “There may be a chance to dramatically increase the efficiency of a module, which could result in solar panels that are much cheaper than non-renewable energy sources.”

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AVS 59th INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM & EXHIBITION

The Tampa Convention Center is located along the Riverwalk in the heart of downtown Tampa at 333 S. Franklin St., Tampa, Florida, 33602.

USEFUL LINKS:

Main meeting website:

http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS59/pages/greetings.html

Technical Program:

http://www.avssymposium.org/

Housing and Travel Information:

http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS59/pages/housing_travel.html

PRESS REGISTRATION

The AVS Pressroom will be located in the Tampa Convention Center. Your complimentary media badge will allow you to utilize the pressroom to write, interview, collect new product releases, review material, or just relax. The media badge will also admit you, free of charge, into the exhibit area, lectures, and technical sessions, as well as the Welcome Mixer on Monday evening and the Awards Ceremony and Reception on Wednesday night. Pressroom hours are Monday-Thursday, 8-5 p.m.

To register, please contact:

Della Miller, AVS

E-mail: della@avs.org

###

This news release was prepared for AVS by the American Institute of Physics (AIP).

ABOUT AVS

Founded in 1953, AVS is a not-for-profit professional society that promotes communication between academia, government laboratories, and industry for the purpose of sharing research and development findings over a broad range of technologically relevant topics. Its symposia and journals provide an important forum for the dissemination of information in many areas of science and technology, enabling a critical gateway for the rapid insertion of scientific breakthroughs into manufacturing realities.

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Underappreciated Microbes Now Get Credit for Holding Down Two Jobs in Soil

Soil microbes work as both decomposers and synthesizers of carbon compounds in soil, offering new answers with impacts to crops and eco-health.

Energy, Economy, and the Earth: The Benefits of Creating Feedback Loops

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Nearly 100 hydropower dams are planned for construction along tributaries off the Mekong River's 2,700-mile stretch. In Science Magazine, researchers present a mathematical formula to balance power generation needs with needs of fisheries downstream.

Making Fuel Out of Thick Air

In a new study, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, Tufts University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory teamed up to explore the potential of rhodium-based catalysts for this conversion under milder conditions.

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Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) observations provide clues on atmospheric contributions to an Antarctic melt event.

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Highest concentration and yield of valuable chemicals reported in industrial yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Scientists Create Stretchable Battery Made Entirely Out of Fabric

A research team led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York has developed an entirely textile-based, bacteria-powered bio-battery that could one day be integrated into wearable electronics.

Old Rules Apply in Explaining Extremely Large Magnetoresistance

Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory compared similar materials and returned to a long-established rule of electron movement in their quest to explain the phenomenon of extremely large magnetoresistance (XMR).


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US Dept. Of Energy Grant to Advance Combined Heat and Power Systems in the Midwest

The University of Illinois at Chicago has received a five-year, $4.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help industrial, commercial, institutional and utility entities evaluate and install highly efficient combined heat and power (CHP) technologies.CHP, also known as cogeneration, is a single system that produces both thermal energy and electricity.

Applications Open: ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship 2018-2019

ECS, in a continued partnership with the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA), a division of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA), is requesting proposals from young professors and scholars pursuing innovative electrochemical research in green energy technology.

Successful Startup Founder to Lead Entrepreneurship Program at Argonne

John Carlisle has been named the director of Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI), a program aimed at accelerating job creation through innovation, based at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory.

Department of Energy Supports Argonne Nuclear Technologies

This fall, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced nearly $4.7 million in funding for the department's Argonne National Laboratory across 16 projects in three divisions. Four of those TCF awards, representing more than $1 million in funds, are slated for Argonne's Nuclear Engineering division.

Southern Research Develops Gasifier Technology to Unlock Coal's Potential

Southern Research has been selected to receive nearly $1.7 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding to develop a new, cost-efficient gasifier capable of converting low-grade coal into synthesis gas (syngas) that can be used in a number of applications.

CEBAF Begins Operations following Upgrade Completion

The world's most advanced particle accelerator for investigating the quark structure of matter is gearing up to begin its first experiments following official completion of an upgrade to triple its original design energy. The Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility is now back online and ramping up for the start of experiments.

Chory and Walter Awarded Breakthrough Prizes

HHMI Investigators Joanne Chory and Peter Walter are among five scientists honored for transformative advances toward understanding living systems and extending human life.

Shantenu Jha Named Chair of Brookhaven Lab's Center for Data-Driven Discovery

Jha--a computational scientist who holds a joint appointment as an associate professor at Rutgers University--will lead a center that provides the focal point for data science research and development.

Five Brookhaven Lab Scientists Named 2017 American Physical Society Fellows

Anatoly Frenkel, Morgan May, Rachid Nouicer, Eric Stach, and Peter Steinberg were recognized for their outstanding contributions to astrophysics, materials physics, and nuclear physics.

Argonne Appoints Chief of Staff

Megan Clifford has been named Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, effective January 1, 2018.


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Underappreciated Microbes Now Get Credit for Holding Down Two Jobs in Soil

Soil microbes work as both decomposers and synthesizers of carbon compounds in soil, offering new answers with impacts to crops and eco-health.

Energy, Economy, and the Earth: The Benefits of Creating Feedback Loops

Scientists reduce uncertainties in future climate prediction by directly coupling an energy-economy model to an Earth system model.

How Grasslands Regulate Their Productivity in Response to Droughts

Scientists show that grasslands are more sensitive to changes in the amount of moisture in the air than to changes in precipitation.

Building Confidence in Hydrologic Models

Scientists evaluate seven hydrologic models to understand how each model agrees and differs.

El Nino and Liquid Water Clouds Contribute to Antarctic Melt in 2015-2016

Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) observations provide clues on atmospheric contributions to an Antarctic melt event.

Designer Yeast Consumes Plant Matter and Spits Out Fatty Alcohols for Detergents and Biofuels

Highest concentration and yield of valuable chemicals reported in industrial yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Making Polymer Chemistry Click

Scientists unlock the key to efficiently make a new class of engineering polymers.

Photosynthesis without Cells: Turning Light into Fuel

An entirely human-made architecture produces hydrogen fuel using light, shows promise for transmitting energy in numerous applications.

Craters on Graphene: Electrons Impact

Novel defect control in graphene enables direct imaging of trapped electrons that follow Einstein's rules.

A Molecular Zipper for Efficient Gas Separation

Metal-organic frameworks with chains of iron centers adsorb and release carbon monoxide with very little energy input.


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