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Nanowires and Nanosheets for Solar Power

Nanowires and nanosheets have been found to have some specific characteristics that would make them very useful for different applications. Researchers in China prepared these nanostructures from germanium sulfide (GeS) and found that they were better than bulkier structures.

They were found to have a great capacity to absorb light. This capability can be effectively used in the making of photovoltaic devices. These would be used for better conversion of the sun’s rays into solar energy that is usable in homes and businesses.

Other semiconductors that are made from materials like lead, cadmium and mercury have a higher toxicity than these that are made from germanium sulfide. This means that they would have a lesser impact on the environment compared to other semiconductors, making them safer to use.

Cost is always an issue with new technologies but not with this particular method. It is actually cheaper compared to other similar products and that is always good news for every consumer and even researchers. This would make solar equipment more affordable since the current market prices may keep some people from investing in solar equipment.

The process used to make these nanostructures was tried out by Yumei Dai and Liang Shi from the University of Science and Technology of China. They mixed germanium dichloride-dioxane complex, oleylamine (OLA) and thiourea in a reaction flask that was completely sealed, introduced ultrasound so as to get rid of all the air and then the mixture was heated and stirred.

This mixture heated at 593 Kelvin for several hours would lead to nanosheets but at a higher temperature of 613 Kelvin the sheets curl up to give rise to nanowires. The winding up into wires was said to be because of surface tension between OLA molecules and the GeS sheets while heating. After the heat test, the structure of the nanostructures is therefore proven stable.

Keeping note of the temperatures would therefore always give a definite result. The same process gives to different products and the only adjustment required is the temperature levels. This would make production easier and a little cheaper.

This research goes to show that there is still hope for improvement in the solar energy industry. All the above-mentioned qualities make for better uptake of the sun’s rays into solar panels and better conversation rates into solar energy. Overall, solar panels will give better service over their lifetime.

Keywords: nanotech,nanomaterials

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