Life of plastic solar cell jumps from hours to 8 months

Jun 21, 2010

A team of researchers from the University of Alberta and the National Institute for Nanotechnology has extended the operating life of an unsealed plastic solar cell, from mere hours to eight months.

The research groups' development of an inexpensive, readily available plastic solar cell technology hit a wall because of a chemical leeching problem within the body of the prototype. A chemical coating on an electrode was unstable and migrated through the circuitry of the cell.

The team led by U of A and NINT chemistry researcher David Rider, developed a longer lasting, polymer coating for the . Electrodes are key to the goal of a solar energy technology, extracting from the cell.

Prior to the polymer coating breakthrough the research team's plastic solar cell could only operate at high capacity for about ten hours.

When Rider and his research co authors presented their paper to the journal, Advanced Functional Materials, their plastic solar cell had performed at high capacity for 500 hours. But it kept on working for another seven months. The team says the unit eventually stopped working when it was damaged during transit between laboratories.

The collaborative research by Jillian Buriak, Michael J. Brett Rider, Rider's colleagues at the University of Alberta and the National Institute for will be published June 22 in the journal, Advanced Functional Materials.

Explore further: Scientists fabricate defect-free graphene, set record reversible capacity for Co3O4 anode in Li-ion batteries

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not rated yet Jun 21, 2010
"The team says the unit eventually stopped working when it was damaged during transit between laboratories."

Good science guys! :)
not rated yet Jun 21, 2010
Some more information would be welcome, like a reference to the publication, what the cell's efficiency was, how they prevented the polymer from degradation.
not rated yet Jun 21, 2010
Zaai, that information is most likely proprietary. They have to make money off this stuff!
not rated yet Jun 22, 2010
Zaai, that information is most likely proprietary. They have to make money off this stuff!

Most journals will not publish material that has the details of the material disclosed before publication. To do so would devalue the magazine and substantially reduce the incentive for people to purchase it. On June 22 when it is published, I am sure that the article will have a LOT more details.
not rated yet Jun 22, 2010
So we can't really tell how long it would have run for. Lab techs usually tend to be clumsy in my experience. Oh well. I'll be keeping a sharp eye on this one.
not rated yet Jun 23, 2010
If anyone is interested in more details (and it sounds like you are!), we've set the original scientific article free to access for the next few weeks; you can find it via here: http://www.materi...lls.html

Adrian Miller
Advanced Functional Materials