Durability + Design
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

D+D News

Main News Page


Paint to Power Tomorrow’s Homes

Monday, May 6, 2013

More items for Coatings Technology

Comment | More

Paper-thin layers of graphene, sandwiched with other one-atom slices of materials, could provide the next solar coating for building exteriors, researchers say.

The world's thinnest, strongest and most conductive material, graphene has been the hub of much coating research since University of Manchester Nobel Laureates Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov discovered the material in 2004.

Now, researchers at the University of Manchester and National University of Singapore have shown how building multi-layered heterostructures in a three-dimensional stack can produce electric energy to run entire buildings by sunlight absorbed by exposed walls.

graphene coatings
Photos: University of Manchester

Extremely thin layers of graphene, sandwiched with other one-atom-thick materials, can produce a multitude of unique properties, researchers found.

This energy could be used at will to change the transparency and reflectivity of fixtures and windows, depending on environmental conditions, the researchers said.

Geim and Novoselov won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for demonstrating the properties of graphene.

Anything's Possible

Novoselov said that the researchers were working on layering graphene to discover the resulting unique sets of properties.

"We are working on paints using this material as our next work, but that is further down the line," Novoselov told The Telegraph.

"We are excited about the new physics and new opportunities which are brought to us by heterostructures based on 2D atomic crystals," said Novoselov. "The library of available 2D crystals is already quite rich, covering a large parameter space."

Collectively, 2D crystals can demonstrate a wide range of properties, including being conductive, insulating, opaque and transparent. Every layer added creates new functions.

Professors Andrew Geim (left) and Kostya Novoselov won a 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering isolated graphene properties.

"Such photoactive heterostructures add yet new possibilities, and pave the road for new types of experiments. As we create more and more complex heterostructures, so the functionalities of the devices will become richer, entering the realm of multifunctional devices," Novoselov said.

Making Solar Cells

The researchers expanded the functionality of these heterostructures to opoelectronics and photonics. They were able to create sensitive and efficient photovoltaic devices by combining graphene with monolayers of transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDC). These could potentially be used as ultrasensitive photodetectors or very efficient solar cells, researchers said.

Layers of TMDC were placed between two layers of graphene; the TMDC act as light absorbers and the graphene as a transparent conductive layer.

Graphene structure
"Graphene is going to revolutionize the 21st century," says the University of Manchester, where research has been underway.
 

"We were able to identify the ideal combination of materials: very photosensitive TMDC and optically transparent and conductive graphene, which collectively create a very efficient photovoltaic device," said Professor Antonio Castro Neto, director of the Graphene Research Centre at the National University of Singapore.

"We are sure that as research more into the area of 2D atomic crystals we will be able to identify more of such complimentary materials and create more complex heterostructures with multiple functionalities. This is really an open field, and we will explore it," Neto said.

Dr. Cinzia Casiraghi, from the University of Manchester, said, "Photosensitive heterostructures would open a way for other heterostructures with new functionalities. Also, in future we plan for cheaper and more efficient heterostructures for photovoltaic applications."

The research, "Strong light matter interactions in heterostructures of atomically thin films," was recently published in Science.

Powered Up

Other researchers are exploring the power potential of paints and coatings.

In March, coatings scientists at SPECIFIC (Sustainable Product Engineering Centre for Innovative Functional Coatings), an academic and industrial consortium led by Swansea University, announced that they were developing coatings for steel and glass that can turn new and existing buildings into power stations.

 

   

Tagged categories: Energy efficiency; Graphene; Research; Solar; Solar energy

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (5/7/2013, 9:03 AM)

Solar PV has already gotten pretty darn cheap with existing technology. It took me all of 60 seconds to find a vendor selling PV panels for 84 cents per watt. Admittedly that's the "pallet" pricing - but if you're installing a reasonable size residential PV array, you will use multiple pallets of panels.


Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
Novatek Corporation
 
Novatek Portable Air Filtration Systems
 
Air Scrubbers/Negative Air machines for restoration, abatement, dust & odor control, hazardous contaminant removal from job sites to clean rooms and hospitals. Portable, affordable!
 

 
Keim Mineral Coatings
 
Mineral Silicate Paints + Stains Fuse to Concrete
 
• Forms permanent chemical bonds
• Becomes part of the concrete
• Will never peel
• Looks completely natural
 

 
Shield Industries, Inc
 
FireGuard® E-84 Intumescent Coating - Shield Industries, Inc
 
Trust the certified protection of the industry’s most innovative intumescent coating FireGuard® E-84 to provide you with the 1 and 2 hour fire ratings you need.
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@durabilityanddesign.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 

© Copyright 2012-2018, Technology Publishing Co., All rights reserved