Imagine if the next coat of paint you put on the outside of your home generates electricity from light, electricity that can be used to power the appliances and equipment on the inside.
A team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA, has made a major advance toward this vision by creating an inexpensive ‘solar paint’ that uses semiconducting nanoparticles to produce energy.
"We want to do something transformative, to move beyond current silicon-based solar technology,” said Prashant Kamat, John A Zahm Professor of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry, who leads the research. "By incorporating power-producing nanoparticles, called quantum dots, into a spreadable compound, we’ve made a one-coat solar paint that can be applied to any conductive surface without special equipment.”
The team’s search for the new material, named Sun-Believable, described in the journal ACS Nano, centred on nano-sized particles of titanium dioxide, which were coated with either cadmium sulphide or cadmium selenide.