Carbon nanotubes (CNT) as potentially a more effective material for photovoltaic (PV) converters

Gardner, Craig (2008) Carbon nanotubes (CNT) as potentially a more effective material for photovoltaic (PV) converters. [USQ Project]


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The global community's desire for cheap, efficient, truly sustainable energy generation is ever present. Contemporary silicon based PV's are used extensively and have a present maximum experimental efficiency of 24%. These inorganic devices require expensive high-temperature fabrication methods and their economic considerations vary. Organic PV's have the benefit of being much cheaper and easier to fabricate and have mechanical flexibility for curved architectural applications. However, organic PV's currently have lower efficiencies than silicon PV's as well as other downside factors.

Contemporary doped silicon PV's follow pn junction theory and photocurrent generation is via the creation and
ow of minority carriers. The carbon molecule C60
buckminsterfullerene 'buckyball' was discovered in 1985 by researchers at Rice University. Buckyballs, other carbon molecule fullerenes and the related and so-named
carbon nanotubes (CNT) have diameters in the order of single-digit nanometers. They also have extremely high electronic transport, tensile strength and thermal transfer
characteristics as well as other unique qualities.

One type of organic PV being tested is a blend of electron-donor-type polymer and electron-accepting fullerene, where the interface between the two materials is dispersed
within the active layer making up the bulk heterojunction (BHJ) device. Photocurrent is generated when excitons created by light absorption, then dissociate at an interface to become majority carriers in the respective materials. This makes the organic PV a majority carrier device in contrast to the inorganic PV as a minority carrier device.

The aim of this research project was to research respective inorganic and organic PV theory and concepts and to create MATLAB R models that may be run and altered to observe the theoretical change in output and efficiency to enhance understanding.

An inorganic silicon PV MATLAB R model has been created and while not perfect, it appears to follow most expectations when different physical PV characteristics are
altered. This model requires further refinement and development and some insight into the limitations of and the possible future direction of this model are included in this work.

The organic PV theory and concepts and the consequent MATLAB R model are incomplete. However like the inorganic PV model, the progress to date of the organic PV model and it's possible future direction and development are also included in this work.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2009 05:13
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:16
Uncontrolled Keywords: photovoltaic; carbon nanotubes
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering > 090605 Photodetectors, Optical Sensors and Solar Cells
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4009 Electronics, sensors and digital hardware > 400999 Electronics, sensors and digital hardware not elsewhere classified

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