New tool for analyzing solar-cell materials

To make a silicon solar cell, you start with a slice of highly purified silicon crystal, and then process it through several stages involving gradual heating and cooling. But figuring out the tradeoffs involved in selecting the purity level of the starting silicon wafer — and then exactly how much to heat it, how fast, for how long, and so on through each of several steps — has largely been a matter of trial and error, guided by intuition and experience.

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New tool for analyzing solar-cell materials

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Metal particle generates new hope for hydrogen energy

Led by Associate Professor Greg Metha, Head of Chemistry, the researchers are exploring how the metal nanoparticles act as highly efficient catalysts in using solar radiation to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. “Efficient and direct production of hydrogen from solar radiation provides a renewable energy source that is the pinnacle of clean energy,” said Associate Professor Greg Metha. “We believe this work will contribute significantly to the global effort to convert solar energy into portable chemical energy.”

Inkjet printing could change the face of solar energy industry

Inkjet printers, a low-cost technology that in recent decades has revolutionized home and small office printing, may soon offer similar benefits for the future of solar energy. Engineers at Oregon State University have discovered a way for the first time to create successful “CIGS” solar devices with inkjet printing, in work that reduces raw material waste by 90 percent and will significantly lower the cost of producing solar energy cells with some very promising compounds.

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