A new ‘wonder material’ could revolutionise our energy landscape
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Spotted: Professor Chris Howard and his team have created a material that could potentially enhance the efficiency of all kinds of energy devices. Phosphorene nanoribbons attracted attention in 2021 after Dr Tom Macdonald at Queen Mary University of London/Imperial College London found that they could improve the functionality and efficiency of solar cells. Now, teams at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and University College London (UCL) have combined to further broaden the possibilities of the technology.
As its name suggests, phosphorene nanoribbons are ribbon-like strands of phosphorous made up of layers as thin as a single atom. These atomically thin ribbons are highly flexible while remaining strong and scalable to various widths, lengths, and thicknesses. After researchers printed these ribbons onto an existing solar cell, they found that it sped up the electrical current through the device. This quicker current improves solar cell efficiency, providing a low-cost upgrade to solar power.
While this news is promising for solar technology, the authors believe the most crucial application will be batteries. The structure of the ribbons means that the charged ions that power batteries might eventually become 1,000 times faster than what is presently possible. This would provide massive advancements to electric transport industries and help to eliminate reliance on fossil fuels.
Although research is still ongoing for this ‘wonder material’, it has exciting potential for the future of clean energy efficiency.
Written By: Georgia King