Research boosts understanding of nano-carbon in photodetectors

Aug 15, 2013

As modern electronic devices get ever smaller, the age of silicon transistors is going by the wayside. Tomorrow's electronics—such as photovoltaic panels, transparent conductors, capacitors, transistors and photodetectors—are likely to be based in state-of-the-art nano-carbon materials, such as single walled carbon nanotubes, fullerene and graphene derivatives.

Now, Shenqiang Ren, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Kansas, has authored a paper in the journal Advanced Materials that pushes forward nano-carbon PV technology by showing how individual nano-carbon allotrope components respond to light.

"Silicon has gradually reached its limits with the miniaturization of electronics and the creation of smaller devices," said Ren. "Low-dimensional nano- possess exceptional electrical, optical, electrochemical, thermal and mechanical properties and offer solutions for renewable energy and future electronics. In this paper, we've shown the efficiency of broad-spectral photovoltaic photodetectors across the spectrum from visible to near-infrared."

Ren said such photodetectors could improve the technology we use in daily life, such as laptops and mobile phones, and also could have applications in the defense industry, as with uncooled infared imaging and photon detection.

In either case, electronics based in broad-spectral-response nanocarbon bulk heterojunction excitonic photodetectors would be friendlier to Mother Nature.

"Sustainable and low-cost solution processing is another advantage of carbon, in comparison to the ," Ren said.

The make use of semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes, which the KU researcher fabricated and tested using a combinatorial approach in the lab to map the material's parameters for enhancing the performance of energy harvesting and sensing devices.

"Assembling these different carbon elements is the most difficult part of this work," Ren said. "Our next step is to apply this knowledge to build high-efficiency nano-carbon photovoltaics."

Explore further: The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made

Related Stories

Team uses carbon nanotubes for polarized-light detection

Jul 16, 2013

Using carpets of aligned carbon nanotubes, researchers from Rice University and Sandia National Laboratories have created a solid-state electronic device that is hardwired to detect polarized light across ...

Gold nanoparticles improve photodetector performance

Jul 26, 2013

The mineral molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), which, when solid, behaves in many ways like grease, has semiconducting properties that make it a promising alternative to silicon or graphene in electronic devices. It also strongly ...

Future looks bright for carbon nanotube solar cells

Jun 18, 2013

(Phys.org) —In an approach that could challenge silicon as the predominant photovoltaic cell material, University of Wisconsin-Madison materials engineers have developed an inexpensive solar cell that exploits ...

Recommended for you

The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made

Jan 23, 2015

Theoretical physicists at Rice University are living on the edge as they study the astounding properties of graphene. In a new study, they figure out how researchers can fracture graphene nanoribbons to get ...

Nanotechnology changes behavior of materials

Jan 23, 2015

One of the reasons solar cells are not used more widely is cost—the materials used to make them most efficient are expensive. Engineers are exploring ways to print solar cells from inks, but the devices ...

Gold 'nano-drills'

Jan 22, 2015

Spherical gold particles are able to 'drill' a nano-diameter tunnel in ceramic material when heated. This is an easy and attractive way to equip chips with nanopores for DNA analysis, for example. Nanotechnologists ...

The importance of building small things

Jan 22, 2015

Strong materials, such as concrete, are usually heavy, and lightweight materials, such as rubber (for latex gloves) and paper, are usually weak and susceptible to tearing and damage. Julia R. Greer, professor ...

Graphene brings quantum effects to electronic circuits

Jan 22, 2015

Research by scientists attached to the EC's Graphene Flagship has revealed a superfluid phase in ultra-low temperature 2D materials, creating the potential for electronic devices which dissipate very little ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.