Rachel Alvelais


Electrochemical Production of Nanorod Solar Arrays

The silicon solar cells used in most commercial energy production fail to convert a broad range of the solar spectrum to usable electricity. Solar cells manufactured from materials with higher-efficiencies than silicon—such as cadmium sulfide, selenide, and telluride—require painstaking and costly techniques to avoid shorted cells. The high price-to-performance ratio of these devices prevent them from industrial and commercial use. An electrochemical method of creating nanorod arrays of such high-efficiency, non-silicon materials will make them a cost-efficient, viable source of commercial solar energy. The great number of nanorods produced in electrochemical bath processes allows for a less painstaking production method, as defects in single nanorods have little consequence on the power output of a sheet as a whole. Such electrochemical methods can be scaled to industrial levels with ease. As a proof of concept, we have electrodeposited cadmium chalcogenide/gold Schottky-junction solar cells in porous aluminum oxide, a well-established template for the growth of nanostructures such as semiconducting nanowires.

UC Santa Barbara Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships UCSB California NanoSystems Institute