Berkeley Lab researchers have developed the first ab initio method for characterizing the properties of “hot carriers” in semiconductors. This should help clear a major road block to the development of new, more efficient solar cells.
First Ab Initio Method for Characterizing Hot Carriers Could Hold the Key to Future Solar Cell Efficiencies
Using the world’s most powerful x-ray laser, an international collaboration led by Berkeley Lab researchers took femtosecond “snapshots” of water oxidation in photosystem II, the only known biological system able to harness sunlight for splitting the water molecule. The results should help advance the development of artificial photosynthesis for clean, green and renewable energy.
Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a new technique called two-dimensional electronic-vibrational spectroscopy that can be used to study the interplay between electrons and atomic nuclei during a photochemical reaction. Photochemical reactions are critical to a wide range of natural and technological phenomena, including photosynthesis, vision, nanomaterials and solar energy.
The installed price of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States fell substantially in 2012 and through the first half of 2013, according to the latest edition of Tracking the Sun, an annual PV cost tracking report produced by Berkeley Lab.
Berkeley Lab researchers have created the first fully integrated artificial photosynthesis nanosystem. While “artificial leaf” is the popular term for such a system, the key to this success was an “artificial forest.”
Disorder engineering turns low-efficiency photocatalytic “white” nanoparticles of titanium dioxide into high-efficiency “black” nanoparticles and could be a key to hydrogen energy.
In the quest to produce an environmentally benign renewable fuel, scientists have explored many techniques to split water molecules to produce hydrogen. Still, the current photovoltaic designs are not yet technically or economically viable. Materials research in this area has been promising, but research on the engineering design of these photoelectrochemical systems has been sparse.
The installed price of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States fell substantially in 2011 and through the first half of 2012, according to the latest edition of Tracking the Sun, an annual PV cost-tracking report produced by Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division. Recent installed price reductions are attributable, in large part, to dramatic reductions in PV module prices, which have been falling precipitously since 2008.
Berkeley Lab has broken ground on its Solar Energy Research Center (SERC). The three-story structure will be nearly 40,000 sq. ft. in size and will house approximately 75 people when completed. SERC will hold the labs and offices of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis whose goal is to one day develop a solar fuel generator.