This breakthrough sounds ideal.
Semiconductors grown on graphene at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) may be the most important research breakthrough of 2012 in Norway. At the centre of the research efforts are Professor Helge Weman, Professor Bjørn-Ove Fimland and post-doctoral fellow Dong Chul Kim. The team is now working on translating the results of their basic research into an initial prototype.
Semiconductor nanowires based on graphene may just finally tip the scales in favour of solar energy.
"If semiconductor nanowires grown on graphene are used in solar cells, the same amount of sunlight can be converted to energy using one-tenth the volume of materials used in thin-film solar cells. And that means we've cut down on even more material by growing the semiconductors on graphene instead of on a thick semiconductor substrate. New research also shows that graphene has additional unique properties that enhance the efficiency of a solar cell," Dr Weman explains.
LED light bulbs are superior in terms of energy efficiency, but have been more expensive to produce because of costly semiconductor substrates. Semiconductor nanowires on graphene will make it possible to supply the world with LED bulbs that are far cheaper and much more efficient while also being more pliable and weighing less than today's bulbs.