Semiconductor nanofibres with diameters down to 60nm are used in such as solar cells, chemical-biological sensors and lithium batteries. However, electrons and holes generated by light or energy readily recombine, reducing the effectiveness of the nanofibres.
The PolyU research team led by Professor Wallace Leung (above), Professor of Innovative Products and Technologies, used electrospinning to insert highly conductive nanostructures such as carbon nanotubes or graphene into semiconductor nanofibers such as Titanium Dioxide (TiO2 ). The resulting nanocomposite provides a dedicated path for electron transport, eliminating the problem of electron-hole recombination.
Embedding the carbon nanotubes into the TiO2 component of a perovskite or dye sensitized solar cell (DSSC) boosts the energy conversion by 40% to 66%. This could cut the cost of a perovskite solar cell embedded with graphene as low as HK$1.17/kWh (E0.14/kWh), 40% lower than the cost of multicrystalline solar cells at HK$1.94/kWh (E0.23/kWh). The cost of a DSSC with carbon nanotube embedded is up to 32% higher at HK$2.56 (E0.30/kWh).
The technology could also be used in anode and cathode structures in lithium batteries.
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