from the every-nanoparticle-under-the-sun dept.
Gina Miller writes "Nanoparticles Used In Solar Energy Conversion reports that professor of chemistry David Kelley at Kansas State University has developed a gallium selenide nanoparticle of just the right size to use in solar cells. The spectrum of light absorbed changes with the size of the nanoparticle. 'Kelley is developing nanoparticles that are just the right size for solar cells — they can absorb all visible light but nothing from the invisible light at the red end of the spectrum, which would reduce voltage.'"
"According to Kelley, 'The correct-sized nanoparticles look dark red to black. There is an optimum size and that's what you want to shoot for.' This would be a dramatic difference from the solar cells of today which are constructed of expensive and often impure silicon. An impurity in a crystal can make it ineffective as a solar cell, but with nanoparticles most of the particles will have no impurity so most nanocrystals will work. Kelley hopes his work with gallium selenide will lay the foundation for work with indium selenide, which has especially great potential for nanoparticle solar cells. Kelley's project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Photochemistry Program in Basic Energy Sciences."