Nanopillars Promise Cost-Effective Photovoltaics
Using a controlled vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) process, Ali Javey and colleagues are able to grow three-dimensional, single-crystal nanopillar arrays of cadmium sulfide on anodized aluminum foil. Functionalized with cadmium telluride and encased in clear plastic, the arrays are the basis for flexible solar cells with a reported ~6% efficiency.
While the performance can be improved with alternative electrode materials, such as indium, and improved transparency of the top copper-gold contacts, this model offers a versatile path to the manufacture of low-cost solar modules.
LBL Press Release
Nanotechweb.org Technology Update
Nature Materials doi:10.1038/nmat2493
Diagram of nanopillar array. Image credit: Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory.