Power Electronics

Joint Research to Evaluate Nanotechnology for Solar Cells

Konarka Technologies and Solaris Nanosciences have entered into a joint development agreement in which the companies will evaluate the performance and efficiency of solar cells made with Konarka's light-activated power plastic and Solaris' metal structures.

"One of Konarka's goals is to push photovoltaic science as far and as fast as possible, and exploring how well our materials work with Solaris' in a shared program is one way to make that happen," said Russell Gaudiana, PhD, vice president of research and development, Konarka. "Konarka's solutions are chemistry-agnostic. We believe in finding the best possible combination of materials to create power plastic that meets the performance needed for a specific application, and this project with Solaris holds promise."

Solaris' nanoscale metallic structures will serve as an additive to Konarka's light-sensitizing materials. The structures act as "nano-antennas" for light-sensitive molecules. Since the structure is much smaller than the wavelength of light, it concentrates, absorbs and potentially transfers the light more efficiently, resulting in enhanced energy conversion efficiencies.

"Through our proprietary nanotechnology, we uniquely design the optical properties of our NanoAntenna materials. Our nano-antennas enhance the absorption of the solar spectrum much like a conventional antenna enhances the reception of a radio receiver," said Robert Afzal, vice president of research and development, Solaris Nanosciences. "This leads to high absorption in thinner structures with highly favorable electrical properties possibly resulting in higher efficiencies."

This new program complements Konarka's ongoing efforts to develop a variety of coatable and printable chemistries for its light-activated power plastic. Each chemistry can be tuned to a specific purpose, enabling customers to choose the performance that best suits the power requirements of their devices, systems or structures.

TAGS: Solar
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