New semiconductor materials for solar cell technology unveiled
The University of Liverpool is part of an international research group that has proven to be able to "adjust" new semiconductor materials from solar cells, rather than using rare elements to exploit the rich content.
Semiconductors are vital to the electronics industry, everything from smartphones to solar panels, but they rely on rare elements such as germanium, gallium and indium, and have more and more attention beyond their cost and availability.
Researchers focused on compound zinc-tin nitride (ZnSnN2) have been recently synthesized by research groups around the world, using zinc and tin-metals, easily accessible through mature recycling facilities - rather than expensive and rare metals.
Working with compounds, they discovered an innovative tuning process, which means it could provide a possible replacement for semiconductor materials currently used in solar cells.
It is believed that the bandgap (a defining characteristic of a semiconductor) is too large for device applications such as solar cells. However, the researchers found that the bandgap of the alloy can be "tuned" to alter the perfectly ordered lattice by introducing zinc and tin atoms that are randomly distributed in the condition.
Dr. Tim Tamer, a physics reader and researcher at the University of Liverpool's Stephenson College of Renewable Energy, said: "The tuning power of such VCOs is usually alloyed, or mixed with other elements to achieve the desired results, but A system of other materials has been obtained, which is not necessary with ZnSnN2, given the recent discovery."
Dr. Steve Debin, a professor at the University of Western Michigan and chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said: "We use a crystal growth technique called molecular beam epitaxy, which allows us to control the parameters by carefully adjusting Such as temperature and specific crystal mass. The atomic (or molecular) beam of the event.
Dr. Veal said: "By doing this, the team has been able to observe the number of samples of a wide range of conditions and to correlate this with a significantly lower bandgap energy - this material paving is considered for solar cell applications."
The study was funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the National Science Foundation and published in the journal Advanced Energy Materials.