Eco-Industry · Farm Management · Community Groups · Courses · Consultancy · Chat Room · Contact Us
· Q & A Forum · Country Kitchen · Healthy House · Healthy Lifestyle · Kid's Pages


Please visit our great sponsors who keep this website open for you

How Rare Earth miner Lynas became a political football in Malaysia

Rare Earth Elements Uses

Electric Vehicles

Energy Efficiency in Transportation

Nissan Terra, Peugeot Onyx

Magnesium in the 21st Century: A Better Choice for Transportation

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor Development

10-20MW Offshore Wind Turbines

From Fine Black Powder to Electric Motor:
Permanent Magnets

Rapid, Cost-Effective, 100% Recyclable Method to Produce Ultra-strong Magnets

Rare Earth New Band Magnetism

Magnetic Sheet Fanner

Trade-In/Upgrade Program for Magnetic Separators

Breakthrough Discovery in the Physics of Magnetism

Self-Cleaning Pneumatic Line Magnet

Quantum Rare Earth Developments

Magnetic Device Studied as Treatment for Heartburnand Acid Reflux

Drug Linked to Fewer Deaths Among Kidney Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis

Maintaining Bone Health Status of End-Stage Renal Disease

Powerful Superconductor in a Class All Its Own

Solar Cell Efficiency Research

Development of New Glass

Rare Earths studied by University of Alabama at Birmingham

World's Highest Engineering Prize

Rare Earths: National Security Concerns

Shortage of Rare Earth Minerals as early as 2015

China Rare Earth Market Trends

Emerging Nuclear Power Market Risks and China’s Possible Domination

First Heavy Rare Earths Processing Plant Outside China

Rare Earth Elements Excite Protein Probes

Rare Earth Metal and Cousin of Platinum is Attractive for Improving Flash Memory Chips

Paint Absorbs Corrosion-causing Chemicals

Research on Novel Compounds of Rare Earth Metals

Theory Aims to Describe Fundamental Properties of Materials

Technology Accelerates Solid-State Lighting

Tracking Phosphorus Runoff from Livestock Manure

World’s Hunger for Phosphorus

Monazite can act as Microscopic Clocks to Date Rock Formations

Rare Earth Minerals used in Fossil Research

New Geochemical Process Can Place Loose Fossils Back Into the Strata or Determine Fakes

Rare Earth used to determine "Terror Bird' Arrived in North America Before Land Bridge

Amorphous Steel:
Three Times Stronger and Non-magnetic

New Technology Could Help Thwart Nuclear Terrorism

Security, Geography Could Hinder Mining Investment in Afghanistan

Virginia Tech Patents

“Upstand” the Alternative to the Bicycle Kickstand

Mint Coins from Rare and Advanced Metals

Global E Waste

Rare Earth Recovery Technology

Reclaim Rare Earth Metals from Spent Fluorescent Lamps

Certified e-Waste Recyclers

Rare Earth Element ETF Promises Real Earning Potential

NYSSA Mining Conference Focuses on Microcap Companies

Brazil Lake Lithium and Rare Earth Metals Project

Mining Industry Sustainability Analysis and 2013

Global Scandium Market Analyzed

Solar Manufacturing Sells Vacuum Furnaces To Hitachi Metals

Strategic Metals Critical to National Defense




Solar Cell Efficiency Research Focused on Quantum Cutting at Hamilton College

Solar cells hold the potential to provide an efficient and environmentally-clean energy source.

With the recent interest in alternative forms of energy, solar power is gaining importance, and so is research on solar cell efficiency. Over the summer, Hamilton College rising senior Sarah Fobes is working on an innovative method of improving solar cell efficiency using rare earth elements. She is collaborating with Hamilton College Professor of Physics Ann Silversmith on their project, “Quantum Cutting to Enhance Solar Cell Efficiency.”

There are certain elements that can absorb a high-energy photon, or unit of light, and emit two low-energy photons. This process is known as quantum cutting. One element capable of quantum cutting is the rare earth metal ytterbium, which can absorb a high-energy photon emitted by terbium and then emit lower-energy photons.

White light emitted by the sun is characterized by photons of a very wide range of wavelengths, yet modern solar cells can only capture and utilize a small portion of this light. Fobes’s research focuses on the potential of using quantum cutting in solar cells to broaden their capabilities and maximize their efficiency.

Fobes starts her experiments by making nanocrystals containing both terbium and ytterbium. These nanocrystals look like a fine powder, and when exposed to UV light, they convert the higher-energy photons into low-energy photons. She runs this powder through a sensitive instrument that can aim a very precise wavelength of light at her sample to see how the nanocrystals interact with the light.

The study of the interactions between matter and light is referred to as spectroscopy. Fobes had worked with spectroscopy the previous summer and finds the topic to be highly interesting. Her current project joins chemistry and physics, and she plans to continue it as her senior thesis. The project was conceptualized by Silversmith, but Fobes has a lot of freedom with her experiments, and she enjoys having an active role in the study’s design and implementation.

Ultimately, Fobes hopes to gain a thorough mathematical understanding of how to maximize the gains in efficiency from quantum cutting. She is optimistic about the possibility of utilizing quantum cutting in solar cells, stating, “Early results indicate that it can be done, and it can be done quite well.” She looks forward to demonstrating that quantum cutting can be a very viable option for increasing the efficiency of modern solar cells.

As people become more environmentally conscious, there is an increasing demand and need for alternative forms of energy. Solar energy can provide one such option, and the efforts of researchers such as Fobes make solar cells more effective and attractive.


Source: Hamilton College By Esther Malisov '13

Copyright© 2012-2013, 1EarthMedia. All rights reserved