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Martin Greve (IFT): Nanotechnology for harvesting solar energy

Martin Greve is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Physics and Technology. On the 24th of October, he presented results from work carried out at the Bergen NanoStructures Laboratory including the use of metal nanoparticles to create highly efficient solar cells.

Martin Greve
Martin Greve (Department of Physics and Technology)
Foto/ill.:
Bergen Energy Lab

Tiny nanoparticles of gold placed on glass can generate so-called “hot electrons” when exposed to incident light. This occurs when the metal nanoparticle absorbs light at a given resonance frequency, called the Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance. This can result in either the generation of heat, or the emission of a hot electron.

By placing the metal nanoparticles in a photovoltaic solar cell structure, the hot electrons can be retrieved to generate a current in an external circuit. Martin and his team have been able to demonstrate this principle, and are able to achieve efficiencies comparable to the literature.

Solar cells that work by the “hot-electron” principle have, in theory, a higher potential efficiency than conventional solar cells. This is because they are not limited by recombination, as conventional solar cells are.

Read more about solar cells made of gold in this interview with Martin published in Teknisk Ukeblad last year(in Norwegian).