Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nanowires as electron super highways

Just off an asphalt superhighway (the 5), engineers developed experimental solar cells with superhighways for electrons. Once the electrons hop on the superhighway, they go directly to the electrode. Why do we care if electrons make it to the electrode? Because if they don't make it, then no current is produced. And for many thin-film solar cells made of polymers, electrons have a hard time making to the electrode. Before they get there, they often recombine with a hole.
You can read the full press release here.

If you are wondering about a caption for the image above, read below:
Schematic of the nanowire-polymer hybrid device created by UC San Diego engineers and described in the journal NanoLetters. (Top to bottom): top yellow layer is the gold (Au) electrode that attracts the holes; blue gradient is the polymer material (P3HT) that absorbs the sunlight; the yellow wires are the InP nanowires that grow directly on the green metal substrate made of indium tin oxide (ITO).