Oregon State Uses Microwave to Produce Nanoparticles for Solar Cells
August 27, 2012 3:43 PM
comment(s) - last by
CZTS cells offer a cheap alternative to indium thin films
The hunt for inexpensive thin films for solar cells is a hot topic of current research.
Today, solar power has many downsides -- polycrystalline silicon panels are fragile (non-bendable) and relative expensive -- plus they're limited in efficiency, without failure-prone concentrating technology. But more durable, efficient thin film cells can be even more expensive.
Oregon State University
(OSU) have published
[abstract] in the peer-reviewed journal
Physica Status Solidi A
detailing a production method for Cu
(CZTS) cells. CZTS cells are much cheaper than the indium based thin film cells that dominate current production. But producing the CZTS nanoparticles necessary has been a time consuming (and hence expensive) process.
Traditionally heating is accomplished by radiating coils or other mechanisms, but researchers at OSU dreamt up an innovative solution -- using microwaves to rapidly react the ingredients.
The microwave raised the solution temperature to 190 deg. Celsius for 30 min. The resulting cells efficiency was 0.25 percent.
[abstract] has shown 7.2% efficient cells produce with conventional (225 deg. Celsius) heating, with a similar (30 min.) heating time.
But the OSU team suggests the microwave heating process is cheaper and could eventually be reduced to "seconds".
the senior author,
Associate Professor Greg Herman
, "This approach should save money, work well and be easier to scale up at commercial levels, compared to traditional synthetic methods. Microwave technology offers more precise control over heat and energy to achieve the desired reactions."
OSU has showed promising results with microwave produced cells.
Physica Status Solidi A
The team says the previous (7.2% efficient) study got better results largely because the nanoparticles were produced in vacuum to eliminate impurities that occur when producing in a reactive atmosphere.
The team is bullish on CZTS cells, with Professor Herman commenting, "All of the elements used in this new compound are benign and inexpensive, and should have good solar cell performance. Several companies are already moving in this direction as prices continue to rise for some alternative compounds that contain more expensive elements like indium. With some improvements in its solar efficiency this new compound should become very commercially attractive."
The work was funded by Sharp Laboratories of America (a Sharp Corp. (
) property), the
Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute
, and the
Oregon Process Innovation Center for Sustainable Solar Cell Manufacturing
(Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies) signature research facility. Oregon BEST is a nonprofit research effort authorized by Oregon's legislature.
Physica Status Solidi A [abstract]
Oregon State [press release]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: What is all this nanparticle crap?
8/28/2012 7:41:55 AM
Give it time. It can take a good few years, if not decades, before scientific discoveries make their way into consumer products.
Many of the awesome technological gadgets of tomorrow have probably already been designed, built and are fully functional right now. The reason they may not be in consumers' hands yet are due to size, weight, cost, or safety reasons, all of which are refined during the R&D stages.
The use of microwaves to heat food was discovered during WW2, and the first microwave oven appeared shortly after that. But it was nearly 2 decades later until the technology made its way into a consumer product that was affordable enough for most families.
"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
Quick Note: Drone Loses Fight to the Death With Kangaroo
December 23, 2014, 3:28 PM
Campbell's Monkeys Found to Use Different Dialects to Describe Local Threats
December 22, 2014, 3:52 PM
Scientist Confirm Men are More Likely to Die in "Idiotic" Ways
December 17, 2014, 1:07 PM
Shoppers Surprised to Find Cards Against Humanity's Bullsh*t is Real Feces
December 16, 2014, 11:14 PM
Air Force Worries Hot Fuel Could Harm F-35, "Proactively" Paints Trucks Shiny
December 11, 2014, 9:06 AM
McDonald's is Testing Tablet-Based Burger Customization at 30 Franchises
December 10, 2014, 11:30 AM
Most Popular Articles
Paramount Bans Team America Screenings, Cowers Submissively to North Korea
December 18, 2014, 10:26 PM
Android-Powered BLU Studio 7.0 Claims to be the "World's Largest Smartphone"
December 19, 2014, 2:40 PM
News Corp's Fox is Terrified of North Korea, Kills Upcoming Steve Carell Film
December 18, 2014, 4:09 PM
Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Drops to $299 (30 Percent Off) for a Day
December 22, 2014, 10:57 AM
Miyamoto: Nintendo is Prepping Successor to Troubled Wii U
December 22, 2014, 6:28 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information