Silicon Nanowires for Efficient Solar Power Generation

Technology #12017

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Categories
Researchers
Andrew Rinzler
Managed By
Richard Croley
Assistant Director 352-392-8929
Patent Protection
US Patent 8,049,106
PCT Patent Application WO 2007/062072

Invention

The University of Florida is seeking companies interested in using silicon nanowires to increase efficiency of energy conversion for photovoltaic and photoemissive devices. Current research has demonstrated promising results for a cost-effective and eco-friendly approach over traditional energy sources. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed specialized silicon nanowires and integrated them into devices to demonstrate higher conversion efficiencies. Research has also demonstrated promising results for increased absorption and energy dispersal without the risk of thermal consequences typically associated with such increases.

Application

Highly efficient and easily maintainable films allowing for superior-powered solar cells. (Including photoemissive detection devices, solar powered transportation systems and power plants)

Advantages

  • Can be employed with nanoparticles as well as nanowires, broadening the prospective applications across several different profitable markets
  • Increased surface area emits more power for each cell, increasing efficiency of energy yields per panel/LI>
  • Strong, structurally sound construction, decreasing future replacement costs
  • Easily and affordably maintained by the addition of a simple polymer, increasing product lifespan at little to no additional cost
  • The absorption of more radiation allows for an enhanced capitalization of free energy sources
  • Addition of polymers can act synergistically with the cells, also contributing to a potential increase in power emissions

Technology

Through the development of an interpenetrated network, this new solar panel layer allows for the increase in power dissipation across photovoltaic cells. By depositing three separate layers of n and p-type nanowires, the surface area contact between the top and bottom levels is increased, allowing for the emission of more light at higher injected currents than currently possible with typical planar methods. Moreover, the device is not limited in the types of materials involved in the network interpenetration, and can be capitalized upon in a number of different fabrications. Its construction also allows for protection against thermal damages often associated with an increase in power dissipation and helps overcome many of the typical barriers connected to a single plane structure. The morphology of the nanowires suggested for the method are also conducive to energy efficiency, and allow for even higher energy yields than previously imagined.