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Nanomaterials for Solar

Bruce Parkinson
Department of Chemistry and School of Energy

University of Wyoming
Why Nano?
•High purity not needed
•L ong carrier lifetimes not
•Low cost
•Defect tolerant
•Flexible – size can tune

75 % of current energy use is in
carbon based fuels ( stored
energy ).
A method to store intermittent
solar energy as fuel is needed .

Hydrogen is the most sustainable energy

carrier if derived from sunlight and
A Future Distributed Power
Grid House Replace two
components with
one inexpensive

We will have to go to a hydrogen economy

sooner or later - so why not sooner?
What solar photoelectrolysis might
look like.
(A two photon p-n system)

ensive nanoparticle or nanostructured film(s) to absorb sunlig

The Problem
Inexpensive , efficient and stable
materials that can directly
accomplish the photoelectrolysis
of water are not yet known ( many
millions of possibilities ).
Oxide Semiconductors Most Stable
> 60 elemental metal oxides
(most have been investigated already)
For ternary > 200,000 (1:1:1)
For quaternary > 10,000,000
Extraordinary properties may require many elements
•High Tc oxides are multicomponent - HgBa2CaCu2O6+ δ
Hg0.8 Tl0.2 Ba2Ca2Cu3O8.33
The Solution
Devise a method to quickly produce and
screen materials for their
photoelectrolysis activity .
Ink jet print metal oxide precursors
( nitrate salts ) on to conductive glass
substrates at fire at 500 ° C to produce
libraries of metal oxide compositions .
Laser scanned
Printing Scheme photocurrent map
S olar H ydrogen
A ctivity r esearch
Develop an inexpensive
K it and
simple method so many
students can produce and
screen materials
combinations .
The SHArK Project
•Inexpensive kits developed .
•Uses Lego® Mindstorms , laser
pointers , ink jet printers , USB
powered electronics , software …
•About 20 kits distributed to
mostly undergraduate schools but
some high schools .
•Web site set up for interaction
and collecting results
( www . thesharkproject . org ).
The UW SHArK Team :
Jennifer Schuttlefield , Craig Markum ,
Tamara Sibray
Robert Herrick ( CSU )
Our Approach
Use ink jet printers to produce
electrodes containing many
combinations of materials .
Off - the - shelf
inexpensive ink jet
printer .

Modify CD tray for

printing on glass
Movie of the Lego® laser scanner.
USB powered electronics
Electrochemical cell

532 nm laser pointer

Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS)
Earth Abundant PV
Shannon Riha, Amy Prieto
QD Sensitization of TiO 2

Justin SamburAnatase ( 001 )

Nanostructures MgB 2

MgBr2 + 2NaBH4 N 800°C MgB2 + 2NaBr + 4H2
22 +
+ B22H66

Manashi Nath