Belarusian scientists involved in the battle for the sun

Belarusian scientists involved in the battle for the sunBelarusian scientists, together with colleagues from Germany have created a unique nanostructured material that will be used when creating a new generation of solar cells. The project was funded by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

The main advantage of the new material is in its chemical composition and structure. In the solar energy photovoltaic cells are most often made of smooth wafer of silicon or gallium arsenide. Development of a Belarusian scientists is grown on a substrate with it columns. In appearance, it looks like "nanogazon" each "blade" which consists of three elements: tin, lead and antimony (Sn1-XPbXS) and has dimensions of 600 nm in height and 200 nm in width.

The emergence of a unique material after four years of intensive work and research. In Belarus, in the laboratory of Semiconductor Physics, Scientific and Practical Center of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus in materials synthesis was carried out starting chemicals. And at the Leipzig Institute of Mineralogy, Crystallography and Materials by vacuum deposition were increased columns "nanogazona." The growth of the machine was the size of a refrigerator. The resulting film shows the physical properties that allow you to use it to create photovoltaic devices, converts the photon energy into electrical energy. According to project leader of the Belarusian side, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Valery Gremenka, nanostolbikov presence significantly increases the volume of the effective surface.

Another important advantage of the new material is its inexpensiveness. Than those used now in solar energy traditional elements, tin, lead and antimony more common and affordable raw materials. "In addition, said Valery Gremenok to grow a single crystal of silicon is needed temperature is about 1300C. Here deposition temperature of 250-350C".

Theoretically, to introduce to the industry or to create on the basis of Sn1-XPbXS energy converters can already start today. This requires a vacuum system, a stable supply of raw materials and process technology knowledge. A number of researchers believe that the development of solar energy in general should go exactly the way the use of thin-film solar cells. Since many of them are already in the current exhibit relatively high efficiency and low unit costs of materials suggested a possible low cost solar cells. Applied a thin layer of a thickness of only 2.1 microns, they have a far greater range of application than the big bulky silicon wafers. And if you create them in a flexible way, you get a lightweight solar panel that can be twisted together into a roll and attach anywhere on the car, or even on the wall of the house. Company Solatec LLC, for example, sells a similar thin-film photovoltaic cells to be installed on the roof of a hybrid car Toyota Prius.

However, for the appearance of the first photocell industrial samples based on the new material will take a long time. According to Professor Klaus Bente, a project manager from the German side, "in order to further optimize its production, we need more knowledge about what exactly is happening in this material." The next step will be the creation of the first pilot solar cell the size of a square centimeter, and the study of their physical characteristics.

It is interesting that Germany is the world leader in the field of solar energy and confidently knocked the leader of alternative energy. The total capacity of photovoltaic power plants in it in 2009 amounted to nearly 10 GW, while in the U.S. the figure was only 1.65 GW. Also in 2009 16% of electricity consumed in Germany is producing alternative sources of solar panels, wind turbines, hydropower, thermal power stations, biomass, and geothermal power plants. But by 2050 this figure will increase to 80%. As for nuclear power plants, in the 30's and they did unplugged. In the development of "green" energy invested huge amounts of money out there, accordingly, there is an active search for performers of research in this field worldwide. Some of them were scientists from the Belarusian NPC.

Interesting report made in August this year, scientists from the U.S., Duke University, John Blackburn and Sam Cunningham. Were announced results of a study which found that the production of electricity by means of solar panels have now become cheaper nuclear power. The report found that over the past 12 years, constantly falling cost of solar cells has reached a level that would question the economic feasibility of building new nuclear power plants. The reason for this was the technological advances in the production of solar cells, as well as the growing demand for them.

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