Clean energy sources, such as wind and solar power, are increasingly used in comparison with traditional options such as coal. Since 2008, solar energy generated in the United States has grown more than seventeen times, enough to feed the equivalent of 5.7 million US homes, according to the Office for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
The problem is, These existing solar arrays are still quite inefficient in collecting solar energy, with a theoretical efficiency limit of about 33%. This inefficiency may soon be improved thanks to new self-assembled nanomaterials developed by researchers at the Center for Advanced Research (ASRC) at the City Center at the University of New York City (CUNY). In an article published earlier this month in Physical Chemistry magazine researchers from ASRC in CUNY describe newly developed nanomaterials that use a process called singlet fission to extend the life of collectable light electrons. Although first observed in 1
In essence, the process allows more time for the excited electrons created by light absorption. The team's research shows that these materials could create more usable charges and increase the theoretical efficiency of solar cells to 44%. By combining different versions of commonly used industrial dycethipyrrolopyrrole (DPP) dyes and rivule, the team creates self-collecting properties. Each combination had somewhat different factors that determine how well the combination was able to collect energy.
Like a spark
Now that you have developed a way to increase the energy produced by sunlight, the next step is to find out how to capture all the energy generated in the process. Although such a process may take time, initial results open up many new opportunities for experimentation.
"This work provides us with a library of nanomaterials that we can explore to collect solar energy," said Professor Adam Braunschweig, Lead. "Our method of combining dyes in functional materials by self-creation means that we can carefully tune their properties and enhance the efficiency of the critical process of light collection." READ MORE: ] Own nanomaterials offer a way to more efficient and affordable use of solar energy [EurekAlert] More about energy: This industrial blue paint can help us build better batteries