(2N) 99% • (3N) 99.9% • (4N) 99.99% • (5N) 99.999% • (6N) 99.9999%
SOLAR ENERGY INFORMATION CENTER
AE Solar Energy™
American Elements is a manufacturer and supplier specializing in materials essential to several photovoltaic solar energy technologies.
When the sun's energy in the form of photons collects in the cell layers in a volume sufficient to force electrons in the layer materials from their "Valence Band" to their "Conduction Band", electrons from the layers are released. This energy threshold is referred to as the "Band Gap". These freed electrons naturally attempt to flow from the negatively charge n-type layer to the positively charged p-type layer. For this reason, the p-type layer is also sometimes called the "Absorption Layer" and the n-type layer is called the "Emitter Layer".
However, the boundary between these two layers, which is called the "P-N Junction" or "Adhesion Layer" blocks their flow. Collection circuits are attached from the n-type layer to the p-type layer to allow for the electrons to reach their target and complete the circuit. Energy in the form of electricity is collected or harvested from this external circuit.
The history of solar energy materials began in the 1970s with the first silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) cells. These basic cells were created by doping silicon to form two oppositely charged layers. A positively charged or p-type layer underneath a negatively charged or n-type layer. In first configurations the p-type layer was doped with boron to create the positive charge and n-type layer was doped with phosphorous.
These silicon based photovoltaic cells have gone through several generations of development designed to reduce production costs. Originally the layers were produced by growing and slicing doped single crystals of silicon. To save cost producers began casting shapes using polycrystalline silicon. While less expensive to produce, efficiencies are also lower. A silicon single crystal may have as high as 30% efficiency; polycrystalline silicon might reach 10-15%. The least expensive approach but also the least efficient cell (approximately 5%) is produced through thin film deposition of amorphous silicon using sputtering techniques.
Presently, most silicon-based PV solar cells are produced from polycrystalline silicon with single crystal systems the next most common.
All silicon-based photovoltaic solar energy collectors, however, suffer from their ability to absorb energy from a relatively narrow range of the sun's light wave emission. Substantial research ha gone into developing materials that can either expand the band gap or create multiple band gaps in order to absorb a greater portion of the solar energy spectrum. This has lead to the development of PV cells based on Copper Indium Selenide (CuInSe2) or "CIS" Absorption Layers which can capture energy from portions of the light's spectrum not collected by silicon-based PV cells. Doping CIS with Gallium increases the band gap even further and as such most PV cells are now based on Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CuInGaSe2) and are referred to as "CIGS".
In the typical CIGS photovoltaic cell, the CIGS layer acts as the the p-type or absorption layer. A second material, Cadmium Selenide (CdSe) functions as the emitter or n-type layer. Because two different materials are uses these are sometimes referred to as "Heterojunction" systems. The external circuit is provided by a zinc oxide contact layer on the n-type layer and a Molybdenum metal contact layer on the p-type layer.
CIGS based solar cells are a rapidly growing segment of the solar energy market. Besides being more efficient that silicon-based solar cells and therefore less expensive per watt of energy generated, they can be designed to bend to complex geometries and are very light weight. Due to their high efficiency, layers can be achieved using thin film techniques. Thin film deposition of Silicon Nanoparticle quantum dots on the polycrystalline silicon substrate of a photovoltaic (solar) cell increases voltage output as much as 60% by fluorescing the incoming light prior to capture.
The band gap for III-IV Nitride materials, such as Gallium Indium Nitride, covers nearly the entire energy spectrum of the sun because of multiple band gaps in the semiconductor materials. Similarly, Zinc Manganese Telluride crystals have three band gaps which can absorb greater than 50% of the solar energy spectrum.
Further important research involves nanotechnology approaches using nanoparticles of the above materials. Below please find further technical and safety information on solar energy materials manufactured by American Elements' AE Solar Energy™ group.
AE Solar Energy™ Materials
Recent Research & Development for Solar Energy
- A Simple Synthetic Route to Obtain Pure Trans-Ruthenium(II) Complexes for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell Applications. Barolo C, Yum JH, Artuso E, Barbero N, Di Censo D, Lobello MG, Fantacci S, De Angelis F, Grätzel M, Nazeeruddin MK, Viscardi G. ChemSusChem. 2013 Aug 7.
- A Soft-Template-Conversion Route to Fabricate Nanopatterned Hybrid Pt/Carbon for Potential Use in Counter Electrodes of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells. Jang YJ, Jang YH, Quan LN, Kim HC, Pyo S, Kim DH. Macromol Rapid Commun. 2013 Aug 8.
- A Potential Perylene Diimide Dimer-Based Acceptor Material for Highly Efficient Solution-Processed Non-Fullerene Organic Solar Cells with 4.03% Efficiency. Zhang X, Lu Z, Ye L, Zhan C, Hou J, Zhang S, Jiang B, Zhao Y, Huang J, Zhang S, Liu Y, Shi Q, Liu Y, Yao J. Adv Mater. 2013 Aug 7.
- High electrocatalytic activity of self-standing hollow NiCo2S4 single crystalline nanorod arrays towards sulfide redox shuttles in quantum dot-sensitized solar cells. Xiao J, Zeng X, Chen W, Xiao F, Wang S. Chem Commun (Camb). 2013 Aug 8.
- Dye-sensitized solar cells based on hydroquinone/benzoquinone as bio-inspired redox couple with different counter electrodes. Cheng M, Yang X, Chen C, Zhao J, Zhang F, Sun L. Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2013 Aug 8.
- Dispersed conductive polymer nanoparticles on graphitic carbon nitride for enhanced solar-driven hydrogen evolution from pure water. Sui Y, Liu J, Zhang Y, Tian X, Chen W. Nanoscale. 2013 Aug 6.
- Aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy analyses of GaAs/Si interfaces in wafer-bonded multi-junction solar cells. Häussler D, Houben L, Essig S, Kurttepeli M, Dimroth F, Dunin-Borkowski RE, Jäger W. Ultramicroscopy. 2013 Jul 20.
- Performance Improvement of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Using Room-Temperature-Synthesized Hierarchical TiO2 Honeycomb Nanostructures. Chu F, Li W, Shi C, Liu E, He C, Li J, Zhao N. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2013 Aug 5.
- A DFT study of the regeneration process of zinc porphyrin analogues in dye-sensitized solar cells. Yang F, Zhang Z, He X. Dalton Trans. 2013 Aug 2.
- Self-organized colloidal quantum dots and metal nanoparticles for plasmon-enhanced intermediate-band solar cells. Mendes MJ, Hernández E, López E, García-Linares P, Ramiro I, Artacho I, Antolín E, Tobías I, Martí A, Luque A. Nanotechnology. 2013 Aug 2;24(34):345402.
- Modifications in Morphology Resulting from Nanoimprinting Bulk Heterojunction Blends for Light Trapping Organic Solar Cell Designs. Tumbleston JR, Gadisa AD, Liu Y, Collins BA, Samulski ET, Lopez R, Ade H. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2013 Aug 2.
- Ionic Conductor with High Conductivity as Single-Component Electrolyte for Efficient Solid State Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells. Wang H, Li J, Gong F, Zhou G, Wang ZS. J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Aug 2.
- Erythrobacter odishensis sp. nov. and Pontibacter odishensis sp. nov. isolated from a dry soil of a solar saltern. Subhash Y, Tushar L, Sasikala C, Ramana CV. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2013 Aug 1.
- BRAF mutational epidemiology in dysplastic nevi: Does different solar UV radiation exposure matter? Saroufim M, Novy M, Taraif S, Habib RH, Loya A, Rauscher B, Kriegshäuser G, Oberkanins C, Khalifeh I. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2013 Mar 21.
- Non-Antireflective Scheme for Efficiency Enhancement of Cu(In,Ga)Se2 Nanotip Arrays Solar Cells. Liao YK, Wang YC, Yen YT, Chen CH, Hsieh DH, Chen SC, Lai CC, Kuo WC, Juang JY, Wu KH, Cheng SJ, Lai CH, Lai FI, Kuo SY, Kuo HC, Chueh YL. ACS Nano. 2013 Aug 1.