Global Sources
EE Times-Asia
Stay in touch with EE Times Asia
?
EE Times-Asia > Power/Alternative Energy
?
?
Power/Alternative Energy??

Controlled electron spin boosts organic solar cells

Posted: 13 Aug 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:organic solar cell? solar panel? energy efficiency?

Researchers have found a synthetic, high-performance polymer that behaves differently from other tested materials and could make inexpensive, highly efficient organic solar panels a reality. The polymer, created at the University of Washington and tested at the University of Cambridge in England, claims to to improve efficiency by wringing electrical current from pathways that, in other materials, cause a loss of electrical charge.

Organic solar cells that convert light to electricity using carbon-based molecules have shown promise as a versatile energy source but have not been able to match the efficiency of their silicon-based counterparts.

"In most cases you are generating charge but you have to out-compete all the areas of loss that keep you from delivering the electricity from the cell to the device you are trying to power," said Cody Schlenker, a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of David Ginger, a UW chemistry professor.

"These materials can be printed like newspaper and manufactured into rolls of film like plastic wrap, so they could have a significant manufacturing cost advantage over traditional materials like silicon," Ginger said.

Schlenker and Ginger are co-authors of a paper analysing the new material. The lead authors are Akshay Rao and Richard Friend of Cambridge, who with Cambridge researchers Philip Chow and Simon Gelinas did sensitive measurements that confirmed the properties of the polymer. The material was created in the lab of co-author Alex Jen, a UW professor of materials science and engineering.

Organic solar cells change colour briefly as they convert light to electricity, similar to how some prescription glasses darken when exposed to sunlight and become clear indoors. The researchers used a technique called photo-induced absorption spectroscopy to measure the colour changes as "fingerprints" to study pathways that devices use to convert sunlight to electricity.

The same technique also pinpoints "dead-end" pathways that do not produce electricity, which are present in most organic materials used for solar cells and limit power production. UW scientists were surprised when their polymer appeared to have few dead ends, but they needed more sensitive measurements to be sure.


1???2?Next Page?Last Page



Article Comments - Controlled electron spin boosts orga...
Comments:??
*? You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:
?
?
Webinars

Seminars

Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

?
?
Back to Top