Research towards development solar paint

Research towards development of solar paint

10:27 PM, 25th December 2011
Research towards development of solar paint
Prashant Kamat, Professor of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry, Notre Dame and investigator in Notre Dame’s Center for Nano Science and Technology (NDnano)

PARIS, FRANCE: A team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame has made a major advance toward creating an inexpensive “solar paint” that uses semiconducting nanoparticles to produce energy.

“We want to do something transformative, to move beyond current silicon-based solar technology. By incorporating power-producing nanoparticles, called quantum dots, into a spreadable compound, we have made a one-coat solar paint that can be applied to any conductive surface without special equipment,” said Prashant Kamat, Professor of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry, Notre Dame and investigator in Notre Dame’s Center for Nano Science and Technology (NDnano), who leads the research.

The team’s search for the new material, described in the journal ACS Nano, centered on nano-sized particles of titanium dioxide, which were coated with either cadmium sulfide or cadmium selenide. The particles were then suspended in a water-alcohol mixture to create a paste. When the paste was brushed onto a transparent conducting material and exposed to light, it created electricity.

“The best light-to-energy conversion efficiency we have reached so far is one per cent, which is well behind the usual 10 to 15 per cent efficiency of commercial silicon solar cells. But this paint can be made cheaply and in large quantities. If we can improve the efficiency somewhat, we may be able to make a real difference in meeting energy needs in the future. That’s why we have christened the new paint, Sun-Believable,” explained Kamat.

Kamat and his team also plan to study ways to improve the stability of the new material. ND nano is one of the leading nanotechnology centers in the world. Its mission is to study and manipulate the properties of materials and devices, as well as their interfaces with living systems, at the nano-scale.

© University of Notre Dame News

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