ANIMATION: Energy transfers from a ytterbium atom (blue), which absorbs near-infrared light, to an erbium atom (red). The erbium atom then releases visible, green light. A study led by researchers at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry found a way to enhance this process, known as “upconversion”, by coating nanoparticles with dyes. Scientists hope to use this process to develop solar cells that capture and convert previously missed sunlight into usable energy. (Credit: Andrew Mueller)
An international team of scientists has demonstrated a breakthrough in the design and function of nanoparticles that could make solar panels more efficient by converting light usually missed by solar cells into usable energy.
The team, led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), demonstrated how coating tiny particles with organic dyes greatly enhances their ability to capture near-infrared light and to reemit the light in the visible light spectrum, which could also be useful for biological imaging.
Once they understood the mechanism that enables the dyes on nanoparticles to function as antennas to gather a broad range of light, they successfully reengineered the nanoparticles to further amplify the particles’ light-converting properties.
Their study was published online April 23 in Nature Photonics.
Read the whole story at the online source: http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2018/04/23/nanoparticle-breakthrough-solar-energy-conversion/