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Device proves solar cell potential of high bandgap inorganic nanowire arrays
Date:4/12/2011

40 to 80 nanometers) along their length (approximately 1.4 micrometers). A somewhat rougher zinc selenide shell was then deposited to coat all the wires. Finally, an indium tin oxide (ITO) film was bonded to the zinc selenide coating, and an indium probe was connected to the zinc oxide film, creating contacts for any current generated by the cell.

"We measured the device and showed the photoresponse threshold to be 1.6 eV," Zhang said, noting that the cell was thus effective at absorbing light wave wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the near infrared, a range that covers most of the solar radiation reaching earth's surface.

Though the use of the nanowires for absorbing light energy is an important innovation, perhaps even more important is the researchers' success in using stable high bandgap inorganic semiconductor materials for an inexpensive but effective solar energy device.

"This is a new mechanism, since these materials were previously not considered directly useful for solar cells," Zhang said. He stressed that the applications for the concept do not end there but open the door to considering a larger number of high bandgap semiconductor materials with very desirable material properties for various solar energy related applications, such as hydrogen generation by photoelectrochemical water splitting.

"The expanded use of type II nanoscale heterostructures also extends their use for other applications as well, such as photodetectors -- IR detector in particular," he noted.


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Contact: James Hathaway
jbhathaw@uncc.edu
704-687-5743
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Source:Eurekalert

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