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Friday, September 11, 2009

Carbon nanotubes: efficient solar cells

In yet another step in the development of the much needed solar energy, scientists from Cornell University have found that the so much discussed about newest nanomaterial: carbon nanotubes (also promising in the field of electronics in general) generate electricity naturally when exposed to light.

This carbon nanotube, a single molecule thick rolled graphene sheet, is exactly the same as a carbon diode, which are being researched for their eventual electronic applications, just that the Cornell team have discovered that applying light to it (in the form of lasers) actually generates electricity.

Unlike current solar cells, made of silicon, the graphene does not need cooling, as it does not waste so much luminous energy in the form of heat.

Of course, there will be engineering issues to be able to make graphene nanotubes in a cheap way but the technology is there, and is in any case a technology that needs practical development for reasons other than energy generation. So I guess it will be done... eventually.

Source: Science Daily.

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