Semiconductor Nanowire Fabric As a New Photovoltaic Material

Wednesday, October 19, 2011: 3:45 PM
102 F (Minneapolis Convention Center)
Chet Steinhagen1, Vahid Akhavan1, Vince Holmberg1 and Brian A. Korgel2, (1)Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, (2)Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Significant quantities of semiconductor nanowires can be synthesized using solution-based methods, such as supercritical fluid-liquid-solid (SFLS) and solution-liquid-solid (SLS) growth.  These nanowires are mechanically flexible because of their narrow (<50 nm) diameter and high aspect ratio, with lengths greater than millimeters in some cases.  Because of the absence of crystallographic defects like grain boundaries, the nanowires are extremely strong, exhibiting nearly ideal mechanical strength.  The nanowires can be formed into non-woven fabric, or paper, that is flexible and mechanically robust.  We are in the process of trying to develop these nanowire fabrics as a new class of flexible photovoltaic material.  This presentation will highlight the nanowire fabric itself--its properties and how it is made--as well as data from prototype photovoltaic silicon (Si) and CuInSe2 (CIS) nanowire fabric.

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