Clean energy sources, such as wind and solar energy, are most frequently used on traditional options such as coal. Since the year 2008, the energy generated through solar energy in the United States has grown more than seventeen times, enough to feed the equivalent of 5.7 million medium-sized homes Americans, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energies.
The problem is that these existing solar arrays are still quite inefficient for the collection of solar energy, with a theoretical efficiency limit of about 33 percent. This inefficiency can soon be improved thanks to the new self-assembling nanomaterials developed by researchers from the Advanced Research Center of Science (ASRC) at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY).
Picking Nano's pieces
In an article published earlier this month in the magazine Physical Chemistry ASRC researchers at CUNY describe newly developed nanomaterials that use a process called singlet fission to extend the life of light-electrons. Although first observed in 1965, the exact process of single fission is still a single topic discussed for molecular physics.
In essence, the process allows more time for excited electrons created by the absorption of light. Team research suggests that these materials could create more usable loads and increase theoretical efficiency of solar cells by up to 44 percent. By combining different versions of the dyed dyes, dicetopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) and riline, the team created materials with auto-assembling properties. Each combination had slightly different factors that determined the ability of the combination of energy harvesting.
Like a spark
Now that they have developed a way to increase the energy produced from sunlight harvested, the next step is to discover how to capture all the energy generated in the process. Although this process may take time, the initial results open up a variety of new ways for experimentation.
"This paper provides us with a library of nanomaterials that we can study for the collection of solar energy," said Professor Adam Braunschweig, lead researcher, "Our method to combine dyes in Functional materials through self-assembly means that we can carefully tune up their properties and increase the efficiency of the critical light collection process. "
MAKE MORE: The self-assembling nanomaterial offers a path towards a more efficient and affordable use of solar energy [EurekAlert]More about energy: This blue industrial dye could help us build better batteries