Solar Energy: A Viable Alternative Essay examples

Solar Energy: A Viable Alternative Essay examples

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In today’s world, there is a huge demand for energy. With the continuous depletion of fossil fuels, there is an urgent need for alternate forms of energy, in particular technologies that are renewable, sustainable, and inexpensive. Solar cells have been considered a promising potential solution to this problem, but issues with conventional photovoltaic cells based on crystalline materials include high manufacturing cost, poor durability, and limited versatility. Currently, only 0.25% of the United States electricity needs are met by solar energy; to contrast, coal provides almost 42% of the country’s electricity, despite the massive health and environmental effects associated with coal power. Photovoltaic cells have the potential to be more cost efficient and more environmentally friendly than the current mainstream sources of electricity production, with approximately 1kW-h of sunlight hitting each square meter of the Earth per hour (comparatively, the average American home uses around 10,837kW-h per year1). Colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) are one attractive alternative material for closing this cost gap because they offer the promise of low cost fabrication based on solution processing and tunable optical and electrical functionalities2.
CQDs are nanometer-sized semiconductor particles that are synthesized in the solution phase3. Their bandgaps can be tuned through the quantum size effect by varying the size of the nanoparticles. Therefore, they can be designed to absorb light over a wide range of wavelengths, and films made of these particles possess unique absorption and reflection spectra. The overall goal of my project is to address some of the issues in the current photovoltaics industry, more specifically to use inexpe...


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...oes an American Home Use?" U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis. n.p., 10 Jan. 2014. Web. 13 May 2014.
2. E. Sargent, “Colloidal quantum dot solar cells,” Nature Photonics, 6, 133–135 (2012).
3. J. Kim, O. Voznyy, D. Zhitomirsky, E. Sargent, “25th Anniversary Article: Colloidal Quantum Dot Materials and Devices: A Quarter-Century of Advances,” Advanced Materials, 25, 4986-5010 (2013).
4. Meinardi, Francesco, et al. "Large-area luminescent solar concentrators based on/Stokes-shift-engineered/'nanocrystals in a mass-polymerized PMMA matrix," Nature Photonics, 8, 392-399 (2014).
5. G. Burkhard, E. Hoke, M. McGehee, "Accounting for interference, scattering, and electrode absorption to make accurate internal quantum efficiency measurements in organic and other thin solar cells," Advanced Materials, 50, 3293-3297 (2010).

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