Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Intelligent Machines

Nano Solution

Nanoparticles show promise as an ingredient in solar cells, where they could absorb light and generate electrons. But photovoltaic devices made from nanoparticles are still far less efficient than conventional silicon cells. This is partly because some of the liberated electrons never reach an electrode. Now researchers at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana have doubled the efficiency with which these cells convert ultraviolet light to electricity. They deposited single-walled carbon nanotubes on an electrode to form a scaffold for electron-­generating titanium dioxide particles. A carbon nanotube (cylindrical object, left) collects an electron (shown in pink) and provides a more direct route from the nanoparticles (round objects) to the electrode (right). The cells convert ultraviolet light to electrons more efficiently than commercial silicon cells, but they do not yet work with visible light.

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.