Electronically Gated Carbon Nanotube-Semiconductor Junction for More Efficient Solar Cells

Technology #13325

Carbon Nanotube-Semiconductor Junction and Electronic Gating Enhance Schottky Diode Solar Cells for Improved Performance and Efficiency

This carbon nanotube-semiconductor junction allows for performance control via electronic gating, enhancing the efficiency of Schottky diode solar cells. Solar power is a rapidly growing industry with a promising future for continued growth. More than 20,000 megawatts of cumulative solar electric capacity is operating in the United States, enough to power more than 4 million American homes. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a Schottky diode solar cell that integrates carbon nanotube-semiconductor junctions and electronic gating for substantial enhancement in the power conversion efficiency. The solution processing for this Schottky diode solar cell is less expensive to manufacture than available solar cells, allowing for a more cost-effective commercial solar cell.

Application

Efficient, high performance Schottky junction solar cells

Advantages

  • By use of electronic gating, maximizes the power conversion efficiency of carbon nanotube-semiconductor junction solar cells
  • Allows for simplified fabrication and substantial performance enhancement , resulting in lower production costs and commercially viable options
  • Non-optimized prototypes have demonstrated an efficiency of 15 percent, comparable to commercially available solar cells

Technology

These solar cells use a carbon nanotube-semiconductor junction and electronic gate-induced modulation of the contact barriers between the carbon nanotubes and the organic semiconductor layer to maximize the power conversion efficiency of the cell. The electronic gating modifies the interface dipole at the junction between the nanotube and semiconductor to reduce barriers to electronic transfer across the junction. The electronic gating also contributes to the electrical field across the depletion layer, which enhances the efficiency and boosts the power generation capabilities of the solar cells. Efficiencies of 15 percent in non-optimized cells have been demonstrated, comparable to commercially available crystalline silicone powered cells. The solution processing involved in producing the solar cells is less expensive to manufacture than currently available solar cells, providing a more cost-effective alternative to commercial solar cells.