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Nanoparticle Breakthrough Can Make Higher Efficiency Solar Cells and Speed Development of Nanotechnology

Nanoparticle Breakthrough Can Make Higher Efficiency Solar Cells and Speed Development of Nanotechnology. Brian Wang at Next Big Future has the story of a classic case of serendipity in research.

Solar spectrum

Solar spectrum

The yellow is what the sun puts out that hits the top of the atmosphere (what a solar power satellite would see, for example).  The red is what gets through to the ground. The green vertical bar represents a photovoltaic’s optimal response (but it actually has a tail that covers the visible range at a reduced efficiency). The blue bar is the tunable response area of the nanoparticles used as quantum dots — you have to make a lot of different sizes to cover the range.

Once we get real nanotech, of course, we’ll just make yagi antennas in the appropriate frequencies.

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