Solar cells go thin and flimsy

September 4, 2006
Mr Deceglie with the dye-sensitized test cells.
Mr Deceglie with the dye-sensitized test cells.

The next generation of solar cells made out of plastics and microscopic crystals instead of silicon are taking shape at UQ (University of Queensland). UQ Master of Physics student Michael Deceglie is working on improving the stability and overall efficiency of solar cells.

Mr Deceglie is testing two new ways of making solar cells out of dye-sensitized solar cell and a combined nanocrystal polymer solar cell.

The dye-sensitized cells use dye molecules to inject electrons into a thin titanium dioxide film while the polymer cell is a thin film of plastic mixed with microscopic crystals that channel the charge through the cell.

Mr Deceglie said both methods could produce solar cells that had similar efficiencies to current silicon technology but were cheaper more flexible, easier to produce and more environmentally friendly.

“Since electrons don't move well in the polymers, we incorporate nanocrystals with the polymer to provide a pathway along which electrons can move to generate electrical current,” Mr Deceglie said.

“The dye-sensitzed device works in a manner similar to phosynthesis in plants.”

Mr Decegile joined UQ's Soft Condensed Matter Physics Group in July as one of 14 Americans granted a Fulbright postgraduate award scholarship.

He will study under Group leader Dr Paul Meredith on the scholarship worth about $30,000 including his study and travel allowance.

“I chose to work with Paul's group because they were doing work that I found very interesting and Paul was very enthusiastic about having me,” the 22-year-old from Taringa said.

“By travelling to Australia on this Fulbright, I am hoping to highlight the importance of transnational cooperation to meeting our energy needs in a sustainable way.”

Fellow UQ physics PhD students Paul Schwenn and David Blake are also helping with the solar cell project.

Source: University of Queensland

Explore further: Could stronger, tougher paper replace metal?

Related Stories

Could stronger, tougher paper replace metal?

July 24, 2015

Researchers at the University of Maryland recently discovered that paper made of cellulose fibers is tougher and stronger the smaller the fibers get. For a long time, engineers have sought a material that is both strong (resistant ...

Hydrogen bus trial shows promise

July 24, 2015

Heavy transport that emits heat and water instead of diesel exhaust is within WA's reach, a Murdoch University researcher says.

Changing the color of light

July 23, 2015

Researchers at the University of Delaware have received a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to explore a new idea that could improve solar cells, medical imaging and even cancer treatments. Simply put, they want ...

Recommended for you

Transforming living cells into tiny lasers

July 28, 2015

In the last few decades, lasers have become an important part of our lives, with applications ranging from laser pointers and CD players to medical and research uses. Lasers typically have a very well-defined direction of ...

New blow for 'supersymmetry' physics theory

July 27, 2015

In a new blow for the futuristic "supersymmetry" theory of the universe's basic anatomy, experts reported fresh evidence Monday of subatomic activity consistent with the mainstream Standard Model of particle physics.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.