Sandra Henderson

May 162018
 
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US have developed a nanoresonator coating based on an optical version of a whispering gallery, which describes the phenomenon of sound waves traveling around a concave surface, such as the dome of St Paul's Cathedral in London, perhaps the most famous example of a whispering gallery. The antireflection coating comprises thousands of nanoscale glass beads that trap the light around their curved surface, enabling...
Apr 232018
 
Though the layout of these efficient thin-film solar cells is relatively simple, the material properties are very complex and, despite their success, not yet entirely understood. For two decades, scientists have believed that adding sodium to the core of these devices makes it more difficult for the indium and the gallium to homogenize.  A new study led by the University of Luxembourg shows, however, that this long-held assumption is only true if the film is composed of many crystals. The...
Mar 262018
 
Developed at Soochow University in China, a hybrid solar cell with a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) can generate electricity from both sunlight and the motion of raindrops.  The new device integrates a solar cell with a TENG via smart design structure. In dry weather, the solar cell can generate electricity from the sun. “The TENG can also produce electricity from the mechanical energy of falling raindrops in rainy weather,” says Zhen Wen in the College of Nano Science and...
Mar 202018
 
Researchers from Chonnam National University, South Korea, have developed a method — called co-precipitation — to make a solar thin film comprising nanoporous nickel oxide (NiOx) as the hole transporting layer (HTL) for a perovskite solar cell with formamidinium lead iodide (FAPbI3) and/or methylammonium lead bromide (MAPbBr3) as the perovskite layer. In addition, they used organic air-stable inorganic zinc oxide nanoparticles compound as the electron transporting layer (ETL) to...
Mar 022018
 
Researchers at the University of Bristol have developed kesterite solar cells, which, in contrast to their perovskite-based competitor technologies, rely on Earth-abundant, nontoxic elements.  The natural mineral kesterite offers very interesting key material properties, including a band gap that can be tuned between approximately 1.4 and 0.9 eV. “Their optical and electronic properties make these compounds a suitable replacement to Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2, commonly known as CIGS,”...
Feb 142018
 
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in California (US) have discovered an inorganic halide perovskite that is ideal for smart solar windows. What is more, the new photovoltaic glass is also thermochromic — it produces electricity when the window is darkened at night or in cool conditions.  An inorganic halide perovskite with remarkable phase transition chemistry “We found a good way to control the phase...
Feb 082018
 
Scientists at the Center for Computational Study of Excited-State Phenomena in Energy Materials (C2SEPEM) at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in California (US), have discovered a new mechanism that could improve solar cell efficiency through singlet fission.  Singlet fission is the process in which one high-energy exciton quickly splits into two lower-energy excitons, doubling the number of charge carriers and decreasing the energy loss...
Jan 312018
 
Conducting a study and field experiments, a doctoral student in the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Kansas (KU) shows that PV panels installed over a green roof perform an average of 1.5% better, compared with panels over highly reflective or black surfaces. Typically, the efficiency of a photovoltaic panel is measured under standard testing conditions, in a temperature of 77° Fahrenheit (25° C). With every degree the temperature increases, performance...
Jan 302018
 
Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina (US) have created a new technique to make hybrid thin-film materials. The study could provide an avenue to scale-up hybrid perovskite thin-film deposition for solar cells and also pave the way to new light-emitting diodes and photodetectors. Methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) is the perovskite most commonly used in solar technologies and one of the few perovskites that can be fabricated with standard production techniques. And yet, the solar...
Jan 262018
 
A doctoral student in the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Kansas (KU) has developed a low-tech yet adaptively adjustable daylighting solution that combines the benefits of automated controlled daylighting systems and the simplicity of static ones to enhance the distribution of natural light in an interior space.  From static to dynamic The effectiveness of traditional, fixed lightshelves is limited because they only perform optimally at the time of day when the...