Team to build solar cells from DNA
In every solar cell, light energy is converted to electricity. But even the most advanced solar cells can harness only a small percentage of the available sunlight energy. The majority of the energy is lost and simply escapes as heat.
Now, a team of researchers from Arizona State University has received a $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to use DNA as scaffolding for solar cells in order to break through the current technological hurdles of solar energy.
One researcher, Hao Yan, is an expert in the burgeoning science of DNA nanoarchitecture – or molecular-scale DNA "origami" – for folding DNA into a broad range of technological applications important for human health and bioelectronic sensing devices.
"The DNA will act as the scaffold that holds everything together," says team co-leader Stuart Lindsay. "It will hold the antenna that gathers light together with the molecules that convert the intensified light to electricity. The antenna, by concentrating light, will increase the rate of absorption of the light photons."
The team's goal is to create nanoscale devices for higher-efficiency solar energy and photonics applications. (Hat tip to Carbon Free)