Nanoparticle Breakthrough Could Capture Unseen Light for Solar Energy Conversion

(From Berkeley Lab)

An international team of scientists has demonstrated a breakthrough in the design and function of nanoparticles that could make solar panels more efficient by converting light usually missed by solar cells into usable energy.

The team, led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), demonstrated how coating tiny particles with organic dyes greatly enhances their ability to capture near-infrared light and to reemit the light in the visible light spectrum, which could also be useful for biological imaging.

Once they understood the mechanism that enables the dyes on nanoparticles to function as antennas to gather a broad range of light, they successfully reengineered the nanoparticles to further amplify the particles’ light-converting properties. Their study was published online April 23 in Nature Photonics.

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