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New Nanodevice Generates 3× More Voltage than Classic Nanoantennas

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SAN LUIS POTOSÍ, Mexico, May 9, 2019 — A nanodevice for harvesting solar energy, called an evolutive dipole nanoantenna (EDN), has demonstrated the ability to generate a thermoelectric voltage up to 3× larger than a classic dipole nanoantenna (CDN). The EDN could be used in applications — ranging from energy harvesting to aerospace, photodetector, and sensor technologies — where high thermoelectric efficiency is needed.

A team from Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosí and Tecnologico Nacional de Mexico compared 9 × 9 arrays of bimetallic (nickel and platinum) nanoantennas for a classic and evolutive dipole configuration. The researchers fabricated the nanoantennas using e-beam lithography and characterized them using a solar simulator to analyze the I-V curves. Using these curves, they were able to observe thermoelectric voltage dependence associated with both classic and evolutive dipole configurations.

According to the team, the evolutive configuration was 1.3× more efficient than its classical counterpart. The results were corroborated by absorbance of these nanoantennas in the 20 to 36 THz range, where EDN was found to be 40% more efficient than CDN. In the range of 36.1 to 90 THz, EDN was found to be 30% more efficient. The experimental results matched the thermoelectric behavior obtained using numerical simulations, suggesting that EDN arrays could be good candidates for the harvesting of waste heat energy. 

Thermoelectric nanoantenna design is more efficient. Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí.

I-V curves. CDN: Ni-Pt, current in function of voltage (black line) and the electrical potential in 225 function of voltage (blue line) (a). EDN: Ni-Pt, current in function of voltage (black line) and the electrical 226 potential in function of voltage (blue line) (b). Courtesy of Javier Mendez-Lozoya et al.

The researched was published in the Journal of Nanophotonics, a SPIE publication (
May 2019
A sub-field of photonics that pertains to an electronic device that responds to optical power, emits or modifies optical radiation, or utilizes optical radiation for its internal operation. Any device that functions as an electrical-to-optical or optical-to-electrical transducer. Electro-optic often is used erroneously as a synonym.
Research & TechnologyeducationAmericasmaterialsoptoelectronicsphotovoltaicssolaraerospacenanonanoantennasThermoelectric materialsenergy

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