Sunday, December 23, 2007
Nanosolar , Solar Panels and Nanotechnology
Image: courtesy of Nanosolar (www.nanosolar.com)
Nanosolar's Nanoparticle Ink Derived From Nanotechnology
The solar energy company Nanosolar, has its headquarters in San Jose, California and is a designer and manufacturer of Solar Panels for solar electricity generation. The company was founded in 2002, and are now in the process of completing the world's largest solar cell manufacturing facility in Palo Alto, California in the United States. Nanosolar is growing exponentially because of the application of nanotechnology to solar panel production. It is a privately held company at present with a closed list of investors who put up the starting capital to develop the product. In understanding Nanosolar it makes sense to understand a little about nanotechnology.
What is making Nanosolar stand out from other solar panel manufacturers is that they have been able to reduce the cost of a solar panel by printing a solar semiconductor cell using nanotechnology. By printing a panel with their own proprietary nanoparticle ink, Nanosolar has been able to reduce the cost of fabricating a solar panel down to one tenth the price of a traditionally manufactured solar panel cost. Their four element nanoparticle ink is one of the keys to their success and they were able to design various nanoparticles that come together using associated organic dispersion chemistry to form a solar semiconductor within the ink during the printing process. Nanosolar has been able to develop this into a consistent printing process over large areas.
Nanotechnology is a process by which matter is controlled as to the shape it finally takes by means of controlling the matter's constituent structure at the level of the atomic and molecular size (one nano equals one billionth of a metre). This is a size smaller than any living organism of which the smallest is 200 nanometres in length. Two advances in microscope technology, (the Atomic Force Microscope and the Scanning Tunnelling Microscope) have made it possible to view nanoparticles and for scientists to assemble nanoparticle products based upon the collection of these extremely small particles. Utilising the various nanoparticle's process of molecular recognition, designer shapes are formed at the 1 to 100 nanometre size. Scientists are able to construct devices of nanometre size based upon the consistent geometry and association nanoparticles have to each other. Its a very interesting field of science, and many investment areas are developing from this technology including medical advances.