Plasma technologies might play important role in energy
|Prof. dr. Uros Cvelbar
|Tue, 2015-06-09 10:30 - 11:30
|physics building 709
Plasma technologies might play important role in energy harvesting in the near future. Not only that plasma nanotechnology is the only method that can synthesise large quantities of nanomaterials like nanowires, nanotubes or nanoparticles which are appropriate for use in energy harvesting devices like PVs (photovoltaic), water splitting cells, etc., but can produce superstructure single-crystalline materials as well as improve performance of already existing devices and its materials through electron-matter impacts.
For synthesis or modification of nanowires, nanotubes, nanoparticles or other nanostructures, the key role in near future will be given to methods like plasma flight-thru. In this way, we can produce sufficient amounts like 50 g/min not only of NWs, but also quantum dots, core-shell quantum dots for PVs, etc.. This is more than 10-times compared to other plasma methods or thermal processes (thermal, gas decomposition), chemical vapour deposition (CVD) or wet chemical processes (hydrothermal, solvothermal, sol-gel mediated). With these amounts, we overcome large market price of nanomaterials and make them available for general public use, and apply them to numerous devices. However many problems connected with production process and technology implementation still persist. The advantage of plasma synthesized materials is also their structure and good control of their physical properties, which are extremely important when considering energy harvesting devices performance. With plasma methods we can build so-called superstructure materials which have highly-ordered vacancies planes, are single-crystalline and without any impurities. These vacancies act as fast electron transport routes when electrons are released by photon impact. And more we can tailor their band-gap energy. Additionally, the band gap can be also tailored by atmospheric pressure plasmas created in inert gases as well as electron beams, where we modify materials by electron impact. These surface-matter interactions release atoms from nanomaterial and modify their properties in terms of e.g. PV performance. All these examples of plasma use for energy harvesting devices will be presented and operation as well as improved performance presented, along with the outlines of future.