Toward the next generation of high-efficiency plastic solar cells

Mar 17, 2008

Researchers in the United States and Austria report an advance toward the next generation of plastic solar cells, which are widely heralded as a low cost, environmentally-friendly alternative to inorganic solar cells for meeting rising energy demands. Their study is scheduled for the March 19 issue of ACS’ Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Alan J. Heeger and colleagues point out that plastic solar cells, fabricated from bulk heterojunction materials comprising semiconducting polymers and fullerenes, have already demonstrated promising performance.

However, researchers do not understand how to control the nano-scale morphology and are looking for ways to optimize the solar cell performance for practical use.

Heeger, co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000 for his pioneering research on conducting polymers, is widely recognized for his ongoing efforts to improve solar cell efficiencies.

In the new study, Heeger and colleagues found that adding a class of chemicals called alkanedithiols as processing additives improves both the morphology and the solar cell performance.

They showed that by utilizing alkanedithiols as processing additives, the efficiency of the plastic solar cells increased from 3.4 percent to 5.1 percent, among the highest efficiencies achieved to date for this type of solar cell. “These data provide a better understanding of correlation between the nano-scale morphology of the bulk heterojunction film and the solar cell performance,” the report states.

Source: ACS

Explore further: New molecule puts scientists a step closer to understanding hydrogen storage

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Using light to change the makeup of plastics

Jul 03, 2014

A FAMU-FSU College of Engineering professor is using rays of light to control the shape of a special type of plastic, a project that could have long-term implications for manufacturing, solar energy harvesting, aerospace ...

Making dreams come true: Making graphene from plastic?

Jul 02, 2014

Graphene is gaining heated attention, dubbed a "wonder material" with great conductivity, flexibility and durability. However, graphene is hard to come by due to the fact that its manufacturing process is ...

Scientists discover how plastic solar panels work

Jul 01, 2014

Scientists don't fully understand how 'plastic' solar panels work, which complicates the improvement of their cost efficiency, thereby blocking the wider use of the technology. However, researchers at the ...

Collecting light with artificial moth eyes

Jun 18, 2014

All over the world researchers are investigating solar cells which imitate plant photosynthesis, using sunlight and water to create synthetic fuels such as hydrogen. Empa researchers have developed such a ...

Trapping the light fantastic

Jun 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —The development of a 'nanobarrel' that traps and concentrates light onto single molecules could be used as a low-cost and reliable diagnostic test.

Recommended for you

A new approach to creating organic zeolites

Jul 24, 2014

Yushan Yan, Distinguished Professor of Engineering at the University of Delaware, is known worldwide for using nanomaterials to solve problems in energy engineering, environmental sustainability and electronics.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

SDMike
1 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2008
This must be the 10,000th article on a "break through" in solar cell technology that will lead to 200% efficient solars cells being sold for less than asphalt roofing.

I'm not holding my breath this time.
Valentiinro
3 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2008
It might help if all the people working on new solar cells you know... got together some time and shared? Throwing a few entrepreneurial types in there wouldn't hurt either.