NanoHorizons Patents Cost and Efficiency Breakthrough for Solar Cells and Organic LEDs

Jun 08, 2005

NanoHorizons, Inc. announced yesterday that it has received a notice of allowance from the US Patent Office for its innovative nanoscale photovoltaic cell design. NanoHorizons' design enables dramatic improvements in solar cell efficiency and breakthrough reductions in fabrication costs. Brighter, more efficient Organic LEDs (OLEDs) are also made possible. The new technology will be available via NanoHorizons' new Technology Licensing Program.

Breaking the Barrier to Cheap AND Efficient Solar Energy: "Layered Design" is the problem
Solar-generated electrical power using today's best photovoltaics costs 4-10 times more than conventional power generation because today's solar cells are far too expensive to deploy widely and are only about 15% efficient.

In conventional photovoltaic cell designs, photons enter an absorption layer producing energized electrons. These electrons travel across a portion of the absorption layer to a collection layer where electrical energy is captured. Both the absorption of photons producing energized electrons and the collection of that energy occur along one line of travel, perpendicular to the layers of the cell.

"Layered designs face an inherent paradox," explains co-inventor Dr. Ali Kaan Kalkan, "Thicker light-absorbing layers are needed to capture sufficient light energy, but their thickness makes it difficult for electrons to reach collection layers. Thinner layers reduce loss, but thin layers absorb too little light. What's been needed is a new approach that allows the light absorption path to be optimally long, while simultaneously moving efficient collection much closer to the source of energized electrons."

NanoHorizons' innovation: A 90-degree turn and applied nanotechnology

NanoHorizons' design utilizes a single nanoscale-engineered structure to perform both absorption and collection: An array of efficient vertically-aligned collector "nano-spikes" (made of nanofibers, nanowires, nanotubes, or nanoparticle chains) rise throughout a layer of light-absorptive material. By integrating vertical nano-spike collectors into the absorption material itself, energy collection now occurs at 90 degrees to the absorption process.

This breakthrough enables photovoltaics builders to use an optimally thick absorption layer while dramatically shortening collection distance by as much as 1000-fold (tens of nanometers vs. tens of microns in today's best two-layer cells) - eliminating the impact of absorption layer thickness on collection distance.

Brighter future for photovoltaics and organic LEDs

"Solar energy development has been held up by barriers inherent in cell design. These barriers have now been broken," said Stephen Fonash, PhD., founder of NanoHorizons and co-inventor of the newly patented technology. "Our nanoscale approach can enable collection lengths as small as a few tens of nanometers, opening the door to the use of inexpensive materials and fabrication processes, while simultaneously enabling a truly optimized absorption length. This technology is poised to greatly stimulate growth in the solar energy and Organic LED sectors."

New photovoltaic devices utilizing NanoHorizons' technology can be manufactured with lower-quality materials on high-throughput production lines that use rollers and coating/spraying machines.

NanoHorizons, Inc.

Explore further: A new dimension for integrated circuits: 3-D nanomagnetic logic

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

"Funnel" attracts bonding partners to biomolecule

Sep 24, 2014

New experimental technologies, such as terahertz absorption spectroscopy, pave the way for studies of the dynamics of water molecules surrounding biomolecules. Using this method, the researchers proved some ...

Researchers use liquid inks to create better solar cells

Sep 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —The basic function of solar cells is to harvest sunlight and turn it into electricity. Thus, it is critically important that the film that collects the light on the surface of the cell is designed ...

A new stable and cost-cutting type of perovskite solar cell

Jul 17, 2014

Perovskite solar cells show tremendous promise in propelling solar power into the marketplace. The cells use a hole-transportation layer, which promotes the efficient movement of electrical current after exposure to sunlight. ...

Recommended for you

Ultrafast remote switching of light emission

11 hours ago

Researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology can now for the first time remotely control a miniature light source at timescales of 200 trillionth of a second. They published the results on Sept. 2014 ...

Blades of grass inspire advance in organic solar cells

12 hours ago

Using a bio-mimicking analog of one of nature's most efficient light-harvesting structures, blades of grass, an international research team led by Alejandro Briseno of the University of Massachusetts Amherst ...

Nanotube cathode beats large, pricey laser

17 hours ago

Scientists are a step closer to building an intense electron beam source without a laser. Using the High-Brightness Electron Source Lab at DOE's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, a team led by scientist ...

User comments : 0