Press Release
Athens, 14 December 2012

 "A scaling law approach to the design of nanoscale solar energy conversion systems."
The acknowledged chemist and Professor Paul Alivisatos gave a lecture at the NCSR “Demokritos”


On Friday, December 14th 2012, Prof. Paul Alivisatos, Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of the University of California in Berkeley and Professor in the Department of Chemistry of the same University, visited the NCSR “Demokritos” and gave a lecture under the title: “A scaling law approach to the design of nanoscale solar energy conversion systems”.

As part of the lecture series “Research, Innovation and Development”, organized by the NCSR “Demokritos”, the distinguished synthetic chemist, Prof. Alivisatos, spoke about the recent developments in the field of research and production of nanocrystals. Moreover, he highlighted the possible applications of these materials in the production and storage of solar energy. Nanocrystals – the coming revolution in the field of technology – attract great attention due to the variety and complexity of structures that can be produced by them and, equally important, due to their interesting physicochemical properties that change with their size or shape.

Prof. Alivisatos spoke about nanocrystals and their use in solar energy applications, such as artificial photosynthesis and nano-based photovoltaic technology. Up to now, research results show that use of nanoparticles as building blocks of photovoltaic cells, can be a competitor for silicon. The main objectives of these research attempts are to lower the cost per watt produced and increase the efficiency of these new photovoltaic systems. The advantage of using nanocrystals lies in their high surface-to-volume ratio, because these new photovoltaic cells will be constructed by a tremendous amount of microscopic particles. A very promissing, but still in research stage, scientific venture.

Except for possible applications of nanocrystals in photovoltaic systems, in which nanoparticles absorb solar radiation and convert part of the photons' energy into electrical energy, other applications of these materials include designing artificial photosynthesis devices. Copying the natural process of photosynthesis, by converting solar power into chemical energy, these devices promise to generate extremely cost-efficient “green” energy. Prof. Alivisatos team’s efforts are focused on optimizing the energy production methods that are used to isolate hydrogen atoms during photocatalytic water splitting. Hydrogen, the “cleanest” and most efficient fuel known to man, if widely produced, could solve the energy problem of the world. However, storing renewably produced energy is a big challenge that, if resolved, could open the way for a massive production of energy fuels.

Prof. Alivisatos has received numerous awards and is one of the most acknowledged experts in nanocrystal synthesis and advanced nanocrystal applications in biology and energy production. Moreover, he has been hailed “one of the fathers of nanoscience” and has been ranked 5th in the list of the 100 top chemists of the past decade released by Thomson-Reuters. Under Alivisatos’ leadership, Berkeley Lab has been awarded an excess of $282 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Much of this funding was the direct result of his research efforts to convert solar energy into renewable transportation fuel (Helios Project). Prof. Alivisatos, among other distinctions, has received the 2012 Wolf Prize in Chemistry.

Relative Links:
Prof. Paul Alivisatos' CV:

Photographs from Prof. Paul Alivisatos' visit at the NCSR "Demokritos":

















For the N.C.S.R. "Demokritos"

The National Center for Scientific Research (NCSR) "Demokritos" is the largest multidisciplinary research center in the country with substantial scientific research, technological and educational activities in the areas of: Health, Biology and Biotechnology, New Materials Micro & Nanotechnology, Environment - Energy and Sustainable Development, Information Technology & Telecommunications, Nuclear Physics & Elementary Particle Physics, Nuclear Technology & Radiation Protection, Cultural Heritage.


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