Oct 7, 2006
Spanish researchers have trapped tiny clusters of titania in the pores of zeolite. They hope to develop a new class of photovoltaic material for solar energy conversion. Ultimately, zeolite-entrapped titania will be less expensive to manufacture, tougher, and more efficient than conventional silicon-based materials.
Titania-based photovoltaics are soon to enter the solar energy market but they suffer from several drawbacks. For instance, the small size of the particles used to make the light-sensitive layer means that they are not highly electrically conductive. Moreover, at less than a few nanometres, titania particles can only be activated by deep ultraviolet light and so don’t exploit the full spectrum of sunlight. Hermenegildo García of the Polytechnic University of Valencia and colleagues hope to change all that, Although they need to improve the photo efficiency of their materials by at least an order of magnitude, the adaptability of zeolites means this should be possible.