Dye-sensitized solar cells rival conventional cell efficiency

Jul 10, 2013
This is Michael Grätzel holding one of his dye-sensitized solar cells Credit: EPFL

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) have many advantages over their silicon-based counterparts. They offer transparency, low cost, and high power conversion efficiencies under cloudy and artificial light conditions. However, until now their overall efficiency has been lower than silicon-based solar cells, mostly because of the inherent voltage loss during the regeneration of the sensitizing dye. In a Nature publication, EPFL scientists have developed a state solid version of the DSSC that is fabricated by a new two-step process raising their efficiency up to a record 15% without sacrificing stability.

The new solid-state embodiment of the DSSC uses a perovskite (CaTiO3) material as a light harvester and an organic hole transport material to replace the cell's electrolyte. Typical fabrication of this new DSSC involves depositing a perovskite material directly onto a metal-. The problem is that adding the entire material together often causes wide variation in the morphology and the efficiency of the resulting solar cell, which makes it difficult to use them in everyday applications.

Michael Grätzel's team at EPFL has now solved the problem with a two-step approach: First, one part of the perovskite is deposited in to the pores of the metal-oxide . Second, the deposited part is exposed to a solution that contains the other component of the perovskite. When the two parts come into contact, they react instantaneously and convert into the complete light-sensitive pigment, permitting much better control over the morphology of the solar cell.

The new method raises DSSC power-conversion efficiency up to a record 15%, exceeding the power conversion efficiencies of conventional, -based . The authors believe that it will open a new era of DSSC development, featuring stability and efficiencies that equal or even surpass today's best thin-film photovoltaic devices.

Explore further: Fukushima accepts 'temporary' radioactive waste storage

More information: Paper: dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12340

Related Stories

Future looks bright for carbon nanotube solar cells

Jun 18, 2013

(Phys.org) —In an approach that could challenge silicon as the predominant photovoltaic cell material, University of Wisconsin-Madison materials engineers have developed an inexpensive solar cell that exploits ...

A new world record for solar cell efficiency

Jan 17, 2013

In a remarkable feat, scientists at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, have developed thin film solar cells on flexible polymer foils with a new record efficiency of ...

Recommended for you

Storing solar energy

23 hours ago

A research project conducted by Leclanché S.A., the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Romande Energie and with the financial support of the Canton of Vaud could bring a real added value in ...

Scientists get set for simulated nuclear inspection

Sep 01, 2014

Some 40 scientists and technicians from around the world will descend on Jordan in November to take part in a simulated on-site inspection of a suspected nuclear test site on the banks of the Dead Sea.

User comments : 0