New Nanomaterial Catches Sun Invisible Rays

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at the University of Toronto (U of T) have designed an infrared-sensitive material made of nanocrystals so small they were able to tune them to catch the Sun's invisible rays. In "Nanotechnologists' new plastic can see in the dark," you'll discover that it's the first time that a light-sensitive material works in the invisible light spectrum. This opens the way to a broad range of applications, from clothing to digital cameras that work in the dark. But the real breakthrough is that it will permit to catch five more times energy from the Sun, up to 30 percent from the 6 percent achieved today by the best plastic solar cells. Hats off to these researchers… This overview contains more details, comments and references." Ed. Note: The key thing to note about this technology is that it may be the first "solution-processed photovoltaic" for IR wavelengths. There already exist several materials, e.g. HgCdTe, InSb and PbTe that are used for IR detectors in astronomy. There is also a significant amount of research done on thermophotovoltaics by NASA as well as various academic groups and corporations. However these may require more expensive production methods.

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