Multifunctional Nanostructured Materials for Next Generation Photovoltaics

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Nanotechnology and Applied Nanosciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 August 2022) | Viewed by 8226

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Center of Materials Technology and Photonics, Hellenic Mediterranean University (formerly Technological Educational Institute of Crete), 71004 Heraklion, Crete, Greece;
2. National Institute for R&D in Microtechnologies - IMT Bucharest 126A Erou Iancu Nicolae St., 077190 Bucharest, Romania
Interests: nanotechnology; materials engineering and applications: photocatalytic materials; materials for envinronmental and clean energy applications; composite materials for electromagnetic shielding; transparent electrode materials development including graphene (synthesis, deposition, and functionalization); colloidal synthesis of metal nanoparticles; surface modification of metal oxides; graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide films using metal nanoparticles for plasmonic effects on optical properties and silicon-rubber-based composite insulators for high voltage applications
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Guest Editor
“Petru Poni” Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, 41A Grigore Ghica Voda Alley, 700487 Iasi, Romania
Interests: design; synthesis and investigation of nanoparticles; thin films and multilayers nanowires; metal oxide ceramic nanofibers (NiO, ZnO, NiO-ZnO, NiO-SnO2, ZnO-SnO2, ZnO:La; ZnO:RE (La, Er, Sm), etc) composites; polymer/inorganic nanoparticles nanostructures; with specific optical; electrical; photocatalytic and magnetic properties for use in various modern applications (photocatalysis, sensors, electronics and optoelectronics, electrochemical supercapacitors, etc), which are obtained by electrochemical and electrospinning method, respectively

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Guest Editor
National Institute for Research and Development in Microtechnologies, Bucharest, Romania
Interests: X-ray diffraction; threading dislocations; thin films; strain; nanowires; quantum dots; micro and mesoporous materials; strain relaxation; structural defects; X-ray reflectivity; small angle X-ray scattering; carbon based materials; oxides; nitrides; supercapacitors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Access to cheap and abundant solar power and storage is one of the most important challenges today, and it will transform the way we produce and use power. The demand for cheaper, greener electricity means that the energy landscape is changing faster than ever. This is particularly true of solar-powered electricity and battery storage. The costs have decreased, and energy-efficient technologies have expanded.

Decades of improvements in engineering and manufacturing processes have led to moderately efficient, low-environmental-impact, silicon-based crystalline solar modules that fill rooftops and fields around the world. This is about to change with new technologies based on manufacturing techniques that use nanotechnology and nanomaterials. Next-generation solar energy conversion devices offer high hopes but might be more toxic than we expect. The need for new cost-effective, reliable, and efficient but low-toxic multifunctional nanostructured materials for next-generation photovoltaics is increasing. This Special Issue addresses this topic inviting contributions regarding recent scientific advancements on this subject. It covers virtually any kind of research regarding organic, inorganic or hybrid nanostructured materials that have potential for use in the next generation of photovoltaics development. We welcome original papers, short communications, and reviews that report on fabrication, characterization, integration or application development as well as studies on toxicity, environmental issues, etc.

Dr. Mirela Petruta Suchea
Dr. Petronela Pascariu
Dr. Cosmin Romanitan
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • nanomaterials
  • nanotechnology
  • photovoltaics
  • solar energy
  • nanostructures
  • thin films
  • paints
  • coatings
  • inks
  • composite materials
  • hybrid materials
  • clean energy
  • green chemistry

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 13651 KiB  
Article
Self-Organized Heterocyclic Amines Films on Carbon Substrates for Photovoltaic Applications
by Petro Smertenko, Nina Roshchina, Gennadiy Olkhovik, Volodymyr Khomenko, Oksana Butenko, Oksana Chernysh and Viacheslav Barsukov
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(20), 10210; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122010210 - 11 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 965
Abstract
Future technologies for organic photovoltaics include self-organization and self-assembly. Heterocyclic amines, namely sodium sulfacyl, clonidine, and cyanocobalamin, were deposited on four types of carbon-on-paper substrates by the self-organization assembly method. Each organic film was deposited in the chemical bath for 10, 20, 40, [...] Read more.
Future technologies for organic photovoltaics include self-organization and self-assembly. Heterocyclic amines, namely sodium sulfacyl, clonidine, and cyanocobalamin, were deposited on four types of carbon-on-paper substrates by the self-organization assembly method. Each organic film was deposited in the chemical bath for 10, 20, 40, 60, and 90 min. Carbon substrates were thin layers of carbon composites deposited on Maestro paper. Compositions of carbon films of thicknesses about 20 mcm included graphitized carbon black “PureBlack@”and graphite “KGPS-1” as the permanent components, as well as activated carbon, magnetite, nanotubes, and needle graphite DBX-010 as variable components. Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) served as a binder for all of these composites. Morphological features of organic-carbon hybrids were investigated using optical microscopy MII-4 of 500 nm resolution with a SLR camera. The injection properties of the obtained hybrids were studied on standard equipment for current–voltage characteristics measuring. The thin organic films demonstrated the possibility of self-organization on various carbon substrates. The best grid morphology was determined for the optimal deposition time between 20 and 40 min with circular-type cells. The best injection properties correlated with the best morphology. These heterocyclic amines-on-carbon hybrids are promising structures for the formation of non-expensive and easily-fabricated solar cells. Full article
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17 pages, 3534 KiB  
Article
Effect of the Cadmium Telluride Deposition Method on the Covering Degree of Electrodes Based on Copper Nanowire Arrays
by Ana-Maria Panaitescu, Iulia Antohe, Claudiu Locovei, Sorina Iftimie, Ştefan Antohe, Luc Piraux, Mirela Petruta Suchea and Vlad-Andrei Antohe
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(15), 7808; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12157808 - 03 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1831
Abstract
In this work, we report the preparation of nanostructured electrodes based on dense arrays of vertically-aligned copper (Cu) nanowires (NWs) to be subsequently covered by cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin films, with great potential to be used within “substrate”-type photovoltaic cells based on A [...] Read more.
In this work, we report the preparation of nanostructured electrodes based on dense arrays of vertically-aligned copper (Cu) nanowires (NWs) to be subsequently covered by cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin films, with great potential to be used within “substrate”-type photovoltaic cells based on AII-BVI heterojunctions. In particular, the multi-step preparation protocol presented here involves an electrochemical synthesis procedure within a supported anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) nanoporous template for first generating a homogeneous array of vertically-aligned Cu NWs, which are then further embedded within a compact CdTe thin film. In a second stage, we tested three deposition methods (vacuum thermal evaporation, VTE; radio-frequency magnetron sputtering, RF-MS; and electrochemical deposition, ECD) for use in obtaining CdTe layers potentially able to consistently penetrate the previously prepared Cu NWs array. A comparative analysis was performed to critically evaluate the morphological, optical, and structural properties of the deposited CdTe films. The presented results demonstrate that under optimized processing conditions, the ECD approach could potentially allow the cost-effective fabrication of absorber layer/collecting electrode CdTe/Cu nanostructured interfaces that could improve charge collection mechanisms, which in turn could allow the fabrication of more efficient solar cells based on AII-BVI semiconducting compounds. Full article
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13 pages, 6598 KiB  
Article
Integration of Micro-Structured Photovoltaic Cells into the Ultra-Light Wing Structure for Extended Range Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
by Octavian Narcis Ionescu, Ileana Cernica, Elena Manea, Catalin Parvulescu, Alin Istrate, Gabriela Ionescu and Mirela Petruta Suchea
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(22), 10890; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112210890 - 18 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1398
Abstract
There have been large developments in the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) industry over the last decade. Although UAV development was mainly for military related use in the beginning and despite there being fear surrounding the release of this technology to the open market [...] Read more.
There have been large developments in the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) industry over the last decade. Although UAV development was mainly for military related use in the beginning and despite there being fear surrounding the release of this technology to the open market for quite a long time, nowadays, there are a variety of applications where UAVs are used extensively, such as in agriculture, infrastructure inspection and monitoring, mobile retranslation relays for communications, etc. One of the weaknesses of electrically propelled UAVs is flight autonomy; there is often a difficult trade-of between the weight of the payload, batteries, and surface to be surveyed that is necessary to determine. There have been many attempts to use photovoltaic cells to increase the flight time for UAVs; however, a reliable solution has not yet been developed. The present paper presents improvements that have been conducted to extend the autonomy of electrically derived UAVs: instead of gluing photovoltaic cells on the wings, the new approach embeds the solar cells into the wing structure as well as develops a new wing that is significantly lighter to compensate for the weight added by the photovoltaic cells. It was demonstrated that by using this approach, a 33% increase in the flight time can be achieved with only one modified wing in a prototype vehicle. Full article
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Review

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16 pages, 2425 KiB  
Review
Organic Nanostructured Materials for Sustainable Application in Next Generation Solar Cells
by Rorisang Mabindisa, Kevin Tambwe, Lulama Mciteka and Natasha Ross
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(23), 11324; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112311324 - 30 Nov 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2341
Abstract
Meeting our current energy demands requires a reliable and efficient renewable energy source that will bring balance between power generation and energy consumption. Organic photovoltaic cells (OPVs), perovskite solar cells and dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are among the next-generation technologies that are progressing [...] Read more.
Meeting our current energy demands requires a reliable and efficient renewable energy source that will bring balance between power generation and energy consumption. Organic photovoltaic cells (OPVs), perovskite solar cells and dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are among the next-generation technologies that are progressing as potential sustainable renewable energy sources. Since the discoveries of highly conductive organic charge-transfer compounds in the 1950s, organic semiconductors have captured attention. Organic photovoltaic solar cells possess key characteristics ideal for emerging next-generation technologies such as being nontoxic, abundant, an inexpensive nanomaterial with ease of production, including production under ambient conditions. In this review article, we discuss recent methods developed towards improving the stability and average efficiency of nanostructured materials in OPVs aimed at sustainable agriculture and improve land-use efficiency. A comprehensive overview on developing cost-effective and user-friendly organic solar cells to contribute towards improved environmental stability is provided. We also summarize recent advances in the synthetic methods used to produce nanostructured active absorber layers of OPVs with improved efficiencies to supply the energy required towards ending poverty and protecting the planet. Full article
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