Rainbow-powered solar cells come closer to realityOctober 17th, 2008 - 12:24 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, October 17 (ANI): Ohio State University researchers have overcome two of the major obstacles to solar power by developing a new material that can absorb all the energy contained in sunlight, and generate electrons in a way that makes them easier to capture.
The researchers have revealed that they created the hybrid material by combining electrically conductive plastic with metals, including molybdenum and titanium.
“There are other such hybrids out there, but the advantage of our material is that we can cover the entire range of the solar spectrum,” explained Malcolm Chisholm, Distinguished University Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at Ohio State.
Sunlight contains the entire spectrum of coloursall the colours of the rainbowthat are actually different energy levels, or frequencies of light.
The existing solar cell materials can only capture a small range of frequencies, and thus capture only a small fraction of the energy contained in sunlight.
Chisholm insists that the new material can absorb all the energy contained in visible light at once.
The researcher has revealed that the material generates electricity just like other solar cell materials do: light energizes the atoms of the material, and some of the electrons in those atoms are knocked loose.
Generally, the electrons flow out of the device as electrical current, and that is where most solar cells run into trouble.
The electrons only stay loose for a tiny fraction of a second before sinking back into the atoms from which they came, and they must be captured during the short time they are free. The task, called charge separation, has been a major trouble for scientists to date.
Chisholm, however, says that in the new hybrid material, electrons remain free much longer than ever before.
“This long-lived excited state should allow us to better manipulate charge separation,” the researcher said.
It may take several years before the new material finds use in commercial applications, but Chisholm stresses that its creation goes to show that hybrid solar cells with unusual properties can be developed.
A research article describing the new material has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). (ANI)
- Researchers overcome kinks in solar energy storage - Oct 17, 2008
- Breakthrough to boost solar cell output by 40 percent - Apr 19, 2012
- Quantum dots could make solar panels more efficient - Mar 26, 2011
- A cheaper, simpler way to tap solar energy - Dec 07, 2011
- Method to enhance solar energy found - Sep 13, 2010
- Solar cells that convert windows into energy producers - Jul 23, 2012
- A new device to tap more solar energy invented - May 17, 2011
- New solar cell technology boosts efficiency of photovoltaics - Apr 30, 2011
- Mimicking photosynthesis key to inexpensive solar-powered jet fuel - Feb 21, 2011
- New polymer-based solar-thermal device cuts heating cost by 40pc - Apr 05, 2011
- Carpet of silicon whiskers could make solar cells cheaper - Feb 15, 2010
- Silicon wire arrays enable development of highly absorbing and flexible solar cells - Feb 17, 2010
- Tweaking solar cell can double its efficiency - Jan 22, 2012
- New discovery paves way for pollution-free electricity production - Oct 11, 2010
- Scientists create hair thin solar cells - Apr 10, 2012
Tags: atoms, charge separation, department of chemistry, distinguished university, electrons, energy levels, excited state, hybrids, major trouble, malcolm chisholm, molybdenum, ohio state university, solar cell materials, solar cells, solar power, solar spectrum, tiny fraction, university professor, university researchers, visible light