Nanocrystals are grown from inorganic materials, including metals and semiconductors. Some researchers have made nanocrystals ofsilver, gold, platinum, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, and iridium. Nanocrys-tals are approximately 10 nanometers in diameter.

Some of the potential applications will include using nanocrystals as building blocks for producing strong metals and composites. The technology is also applicable to lighting, high-resolution imaging, and semiconductor materials. Since nanocrystals emit colored light, they will have a big impact on how everything from large-screen televisions to portable electronics are manufactured.

In fact, nanocrystals could be the next generation of photovoltaics. The major problems of solar cells are that they have low specific power of efficiency and they cost a lot. The nano-engineered solar cells have the potential to solve these issues. Using nanocrystals may be able to produce very low cost solar cells that generate energy at an installed photovoltaic system cost (capital cost of system) of less than under a dollar per watt. This would mean having a 5-KW system for less than $5,000, which would be competitive with fossil fuel prices.

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