Stanford scientists see the solar future, and it’s all about ‘nanodomes’

Acting like a waffle iron, silicon nanodomes, each about 300 nanometers in diameter and 200 nanometers tall, imprint a honeycomb pattern of nanoscale dimples into a layer of metal within the solar cell.

Stanford engineers have succeeded in harnessing plasmonics — an emerging branch of science and technology — to more effectively trap light within thin solar cells. As a result, we’re one step closer to thin, inexpensive solar cells.

Researchers in solar energy speak of a day when millions of otherwise fallow square meters of sun-drenched roofs, windows, deserts and even clothing will be integrated with inexpensive solar cells that are many times thinner and lighter than the bulky rooftop panels familiar today.

So, when your iPod is on the nod, you might plug it into your shirt to recharge. Lost in the Serengeti with a sapped cell phone? No problem; rolled in your backpack is a lightweight solar pad. Sailing the seven seas and your GPS needs some juice? Hoist a solar sail and be one with the gods of geosynchronous orbit.

via physorg

This entry was posted in Physics. Bookmark the permalink.