華迪亞是柏克萊加州大學跨領域，能源與資源學群(Energy and Resources Group)的博士班學生，從商6年之後重返校園。他花大把時間在研究室，在三頸燒瓶中進行「合成超微奈米粒子」的實驗。
Solar paint - just paint it on your wall, car, boat - and you can start generating electricity. Chemical engineer Cyrus Wadia says, "Today this is science fiction; but everything we do is moving us toward that.
A doctoral student with UC Berkeley's interdisciplinary Energy and Resources Group, Wadia came back to school after six years in business. He spends long hours in the lab "synthesizing super-small nanoparticles" in a three-necked flask.
The technique is so simple, he says, "anyone who feels comfortable in a kitchen could do it." These particles, less than a billionth of a meter in diameter, are then suspended in solution.
Wadia coats his solution on glass and analyzes his new device for "photocurrent," - the current that flows through a photosensitive device as the result of exposure to radiant power.
The current occurs due to the photovoltaic effect that powers the common solar cells seen on rooftops across the United States. These photovoltaic arrays to convert light from the Sun directly into electricity.
Nanotech solar cells are only a few years old. At the University of Toronto in 2005, electrical and computer engineering professor Ted Sargent announced that he had developed a new plastic nanotech material containing solar cells. The Berkeley research takes the technology a step farther.
Through his nanotech experiments, Wadia hopes to identify a material that is "extremely cheap, non-toxic, and abundant" in nature and suitable for manufacturing photovoltaic cells. Such a material "may not exist," he admits, "but we have to try."
"Nanomaterials, because we do them in solution, we could use that solution as a dye," Wadia says. "You could be looking at a wall that’s yellow, but that yellow is solar paints."
Traditional silicon based photovoltaic, PV, cells have been around for decades, but they are fragile, heavy, and costly. Now solar is hot as Berkeley researchers attempt to bring solar technology to the next level, some by improving "first-generation" silicon-based PV, others by developing entirely new light-converting technologies.
"In the past few years, student interest has risen dramatically in all energy-related matters, especially photovoltaics," observes Eugene Haller, professor of materials science and engineering. "Many of the best applicants to our graduate program want to work in this field."