The “Nanotechnology Innovations for Clean Energy – Innovative Partnerships" (NICE-IP) project, created by E2TAC at the College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering (CNSE),University at Albany, was funded by the National Science Foundation's Partnership for Innovation program. This three year program began April 2011.
The NICE-IP program was created in partnership with Magnolia Solar, Hi-Z Technology, B.E.S.S. Technologies, and other public, private and service provider organizations. NICE-IP builds and strengthens “innovation ecosystems” that accelerate the movement of cutting-edge energy efficiency and clean energy technologies incorporating silicon-nanowire (SiNW) related nanotechnology innovations and discoveries from CNSE laboratories into the market place. The ecosystems foster open collaborative environments, bringing together key players from university, the private sector and government.
Optimizing the properties of energy devices through the integration of SiNW materials with controlled interfaces and desired physical and chemical properties allow more widespread implementation of this platform technology. CNSE’s unique fabrication capabilities of nanostructured materials enable the team to produce interface geometries, defect structures and atomic arrangements not otherwise possible in materials produced by traditional methods. This allows investigation of carrier generation, charge distribution, surface migration and charge transfer on uniquely tailored surfaces, leading to better understanding and processing of these materials. Additionally, new shared knowledge determines how to best integrate one- and three -dimensional Si-based nanostructures and how such processes can be appropriately scaled economically.
Advances in SiNW architectures will give rise to significant opportunities to create multifunctional materials for energy devices. Research utilizing nanostructured materials will have a broad impact on energy devices including solar cells, thermoelectric devices and batteries. The NICE-IP activity will build on the work of CNSE’s broader incubation, commercialization and “partnerships for innovation” efforts, which focuses on connecting university-based research and development activities with private enterprise, funding and expertise; thereby helping increase the rate and scale of clean energy technology market penetration across the region and country.