Natasha Hjerrild


Academic Qualifications:

  • 2014-Present: PhD Candidate, University of New South Wales, Australia
  • 2012-2013: M.Sc. (by Research) Materials, University of Oxford, UK
  • 2008-2012: B.Sc. Materials Science and Engineering, Minor in Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, USA


Title: Nanofluid Development for Next Generation Photovoltaic/Thermal Collectors

Abstract: Sunlight can be captured to produce both electricity and thermal energy using hybrid photovoltaic/ solar thermal collectors to sustainably meet rising energy demand. However, the thermal component of these systems is currently limited to the delivery of low outlet temperatures (<100°C) to prevent thermal degradation of the photovoltaic cells, resulting in lower collector efficiencies and higher cost per watt produced. In this proposal, we aim to develop a nanofluid, composed of suspended metallic nanoparticles within a base fluid, which will act as an optical filter to absorb specific portions of the solar spectrum. This fluid will absorb excessive photonic energy to prevent heat generation within the solar cell. Furthermore, because this fluid will be encapsulated in a vacuum, the fluid will be able to achieve higher temperatures (>250°C), and thus the system will be able to achieve higher thermal efficiencies than is possible with current collectors. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a nanofluid which will selectively absorb specific portions of the solar spectrum, enhance thermal properties of the base fluid, and remain stable after undergoing hundreds of thermal cycles at high ultraviolet light concentrations and high temperatures. 



  • Hjerrild, Natasha Elaine, Darren Chi Jin Neo, Assia Kasdi, Hazel Elaine Assender, Jamie H. Warner, and Andrew AR Watt. "Transfer Printed Silver Nanowire Transparent Conductors for PbS-ZnO Heterojunction Quantum Dot Solar Cells." ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2015).
  •  A.W. Powell, N. Hjerrild, A.A.R. Watt, H.E. Assender, and J.M. Smith, Directional plasmonic scattering from metal nanoparticles in thin film environments. Applied Physics Letters 104, 081110 (2014).