Sun-Believable: Research on paint-on solar cells

The solar paint, created using semiconducting nanoparticles, has been christened Sun-Believable by its developers at NDnano, Notre Dame’s Center for Nano Science and Technology. This new and exciting prospect is a paste consisting of quantum dots of titanium dioxide coated with either cadmium sulfide or cadmium selenide and suspended in a water-alcohol mixture.

The paste, when brushed onto a transparent conducting material and exposed to light, generates electricity. Before we rush out to stores to buy this paint, Prashant Kamat who leads the research says that efficiency of the paint still needs to be improved. Nevertheless, he says that the paint can be made cheaply and mass produced. "The best light-to-energy conversion efficiency we’ve reached so far is one percent, which is well behind the usual 10 to 15 percent efficiency of commercial silicon solar cells," he explains. However, he believes that if efficiency is improved, then the paste can contribute to meeting energy needs of the future.

The team who have created Sun-Believable are planning to improve the stability of the new material. The research is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

Paint-on solar power is something we can look forward to in 2012!