Nanotechnology for solar energy conversion systems

May 25, 2012

EU researchers extensively characterised the self-organisation of nanotubes and developed novel compositions particularly appropriate to solar energy conversion applications.

Self-organized one-dimensional (1D) oxide nanotube systems are a hot research topic of late given that their inherently high surface area-to-volume ratio produces interesting and useful properties.

In particular, over the last 20 years, ordered arrays of porous (TiO2), or TiO2 nanotubes, achieved via electrochemical anodisation have been extensively studied. To date, TiO2 is the only material suitable for use as a photocatalyst (substance using light energy to enhance chemical reactions) due to its and stability, low cost and safety profile toward humans and the environment.

set out to prepare and characterise self-organised TiO2 nanotubes with an ordered structure similar to that of porous aluminium oxide (Al2O3) and silicon (Si) nanotubes via funding of the ‘Preparation, characterisation and application of self-organised titanium oxide - nanotubes’ (TI- Nanotubes) project.

In particular, investigators sought to understand key parameters governing self-organisation of TiO2 nanotubes, specifically those affecting tube dimensions, orientation and morphology. The ultimate goal was to develop novel functional and structural materials with superior performance characteristics to be used in systems such as dye-sensitised solar cells.

Self-ordering mechanisms of TiO2 nanotubes were investigated via a plethora of surface analysis technologies including Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) and nuclear reaction analysis (NRA) for depth profiling.

The TI- Nanotubes consortium successfully produced TiO2 nanotube arrays doped with silver (Ag) or iron (Fe) that exhibited enhanced photocatalytic activity important for solar energy conversion applications.

Commercial exploitation of TI- project results has the potential to enhance solar energy efficiency and use with important benefits for the EU economy, EU citizens and the planet.

Explore further: Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Titanate cigarette filter could be safer

May 04, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- While current cigarettes are made with a filter created from cellulose acetate which absorbs things like nicotine, tar, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Chinese researchers have discovered ...

Tube-shaped solar cells could be woven into clothing

Mar 01, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Titania semiconducting nanorods grown on the surface of carbon fibers look more like bristles on a tiny hairbrush than a solar cell, but the novel configuration could have several advantages ...

Sunlight turns carbon dioxide to methane

Mar 05, 2009

Dual catalysts may be the key to efficiently turning carbon dioxide and water vapor into methane and other hydrocarbons using titania nanotubes and solar power, according to Penn State researchers.

Recommended for you

Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

9 hours ago

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The ...

Wiring up carbon-based electronics

12 hours ago

Carbon-based nanostructures such as nanotubes, graphene sheets, and nanoribbons are unique building blocks showing versatile nanomechanical and nanoelectronic properties. These materials which are ordered ...

Making 'bucky-balls' in spin-out's sights

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —A new Oxford spin-out firm is targeting the difficult challenge of manufacturing fullerenes, known as 'bucky-balls' because of their spherical shape, a type of carbon nanomaterial which, like ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The ...

Wiring up carbon-based electronics

Carbon-based nanostructures such as nanotubes, graphene sheets, and nanoribbons are unique building blocks showing versatile nanomechanical and nanoelectronic properties. These materials which are ordered ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...