August 30, 2013

Solar energy: A richer harvest on the horizon

Theoretical simulations reveal that layered semiconductors with magnetic interfaces are potent catalysts for solar energy capture and conversion

Semiconductor nanostructures are poised to play a big role in future solar-powered hydrogen generation systems, according to a new study by researchers at the A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing1. Hui Pan and Yong-Wei Zhang report that model interfaces made from gallium nitride (GaN) and zinc oxide (ZnO) semiconductors have tunable magnetic and light-harvesting capabilities — factors that can greatly improve the photocatalytic transformation of water into hydrogen fuel.