Tel Aviv University Department of Physical Electronics team lead by Professor Koby Scheuer are researching and developing a different type of solar panel. The panels they are experimenting with will be made of a plastic material with “nano-antennas” imprinted on them using a microfabrication type of printer called a nano-imprinting lithography machine. The goal being how to create a cost-effective plastic-based panel using the small metallic antennas.
The team is taking advantage of their new research lab at the Renewable Energy Center to find out how efficient small metallic antennas (nano-antennas) are at collecting sunlight and then re-emitting wattage. These very tiny nano-antennas work best when their fabricated at differing lengths because light has a very short wavelength. The current results show by differing the lengths of the small aluminum and gold antennas they absorb and re-emit light very efficiently. In fact initial results show that 95% of the wattage that goes into each antenna comes out with only 5% being wasted. No semiconductor can handle the broad spectrum of light that these nano-antennas can pick up. The variable antennas absorb and re-emit more efficiently than semiconductor material according to their findings.
The team has come up with the first new solar panel prototype which is made of a large sheet of plastic imprinted with nano-antennas of varying shapes and lengths. Further, they are trying to see how electromagnetic energy converts to an electric current and how that process can be improved. Their large plastic panel with the gold and aluminum antennas needs to be refined to reach parity with the cost of cheap semiconductor material.
More details about the nano-antenna solar panels at Tel Aviv University.
Last 5 posts in Solar Buzz
- Simple Solar Cooker From Pizza Box - March 4th, 2013
- Jobs In Solar: Energy Sales, Entry-Mid Level ($20-60K) (Orange County C) - February 5th, 2013
- DIY: Cleaning Your Solar Panels - January 21st, 2013
- Using the Spectrum to Improve Solar Efficiency - December 29th, 2012
- Fun Educational Solar Transformer Toy - December 28th, 2012