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Flexible nanoantenna arrays capture abundant solar energy
Date:8/10/2008

es and will require new manufacturing methods. Another possibility is to develop electrical circuitry that might slow down the current to usable frequencies.

If these technical hurdles can be overcome, nanoantennas have the potential to be a cheaper, more efficient alternative to solar cells. Traditional solar cells rely on a chemical reaction that only works for up to 20 percent of the visible light they collect. Scientists have developed more complex solar cells with higher efficiency, but these models are too expensive for widespread use.

Nanoantennas, on the other hand, can be tweaked to pick up specific wavelengths depending on their shape and size. This flexibility would make it possible to create double-sided nanoantenna sheets that harvest energy from different parts of the sun's spectrum, Novack says. The team's stamp-and-repeat process could also be extended to large-scale roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques that could print the arrays at a rate of several yards per minute. The sheets could potentially cover building roofs or form the "skin" of consumer gadgets like cell phones and iPods, providing a continuous and inexpensive source of renewable energy.


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Contact: Roberta Kwok
Roberta.Kwok@inl.gov
208-526-2941
DOE/Idaho National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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