November 3, 2008

Nanotube-silicon pairing makes solar cell

Coat a silicon wafer with carbon nanotubes and you have a moderately efficient solar cell that could lead to cheaper high-performance solar cells.

The heterojunction solar cell consists of a thin film of double-walled carbon nanotubes on a silicon wafer and has a five to seven percent efficiency. Heterojunction solar cells, which are formed by layering two different semiconductor materials, are a potential route to lowering the cost of high-efficiency solar cells.

Carbon nanotube thin films are potentially inexpensive and could be used to make heterojunction solar cells with a practical balance between cost and efficiency.

Research paper:
Nanotube-Silicon Heterojunction Solar Cells
Advanced Materials, published online October 17, 2008

Researchers' homepages:
Kunlin Wang
Anyuan Cao
Yanqiu Zhu
Liduo Wang

Related stories and briefs:
Nanotubes harvest electrons -- related research

Back to ERN November 3/10, 2008



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