Canadian Team Invents Spray-on Solar Cells
The solar energy revolution could be accelerated with mass production of easy-to-manufacture nanoparticle-based solar cells from abundantly available raw materials, researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada believe. This could be an "important step" in making solar power more accessible to regions such as the country's sunlight-deprived north, the university says.
Led by Jilian Buriak, a chemistry professor and senior research officer of the National Institute for Nanotechnology based on the university campus, the Canadian team has designed nanoparticles that absorb light and conduct electricity from phosphorous and zinc, both of which are more plentiful than cadmium and free from the restrictions governing to the later material.
The Canadian research group, which has developed and applied for a provisional patent for a technology used to make zinc phosphide nanoparticles and also has secured funding for scale-up, is said to have demonstrated that the particles can be dissolved to form an ink and processed to make thin films responsive to light. Currently, the researchers are experimenting with the nanoparticles, including spray-coating them onto large solar cells to test their efficiency