Navigation Links
Looking deeply into polymer solar cells
Date:9/13/2009

Researchers from the Eindhoven University of Technology and the University of Ulm have made the first high-resolution 3D images of the inside of a polymer solar cell. This gives them important new insights in the nanoscale structure of polymer solar cells and its effect on the performance. The findings were published online in Nature Materials on Sunday 13 September.

The investigations shed new light on the operational principles of polymer solar cells.

Cost-effective, flexible and lightweight

These solar cells do not have the high efficiencies of their silicon counterparts yet. Polymer cells, however, can be printed in roll-to-roll processes, at very high speeds, which makes the technology potentially very cost-effective. Added to that, polymer cells are flexible and lightweight, and therefore suitable to be used on vehicles or clothing or to be incorporated in the design of objects.

Hybrid polymer solar cells

In these hybrid solar cells, a mixture of two different materials, a polymer and a metal oxide are used to create charges at their interface when the mixture is illuminated by the sun. The degree of mixing of the two materials is essential for its efficiency. Intimate mixing enhances the area of the interface where charges are formed but at the same time obstructs charge transport because it leads to long and winding roads for the charges to travel. Larger domains do exactly the opposite. The vastly different chemical nature of polymers and metal oxides generally makes it very difficult to control the nanoscale structure. The Eindhoven researchers have been able to largely circumvent this problem by using a precursor compound that mixes with the polymer and is only converted into the metal oxide after it is incorporated in the photoactive layer. This allows better mixing and enables extracting up to 50% of the absorbed photons as charges in an external circuit.

Nanoscale mixing

The importance of the degree of mixing was clearly demonstrated by visualization of the structure of these blends in three dimensions. Traditionally such visualization has been extremely challenging, but by using 3D electron tomography, the team has been able to resolve the mixing with unprecedented detail on a nanoscale. From these images the researchers at the Institute of Stochastics in Ulm have been able to extract typical distances between the two components, relating to the efficiency of charge generation, and analyze the percolation pathways, that is, how much of each component is connected to the electrode. These quantitative analyses of the structure matched perfectly with the observed performance of the solar cells in sunlight.

Future

Even though these hybrid polymer solar cells are among the most efficient reported to date for this class, their power conversion efficiency of 2% in sunlight must be enhanced to make them really useful. This will be realized by improving the control over the morphology of the photoactive blend, for example by creating polymers that can interact with the metal oxide and by developing polymers or molecules that absorb a larger part of the solar spectrum. At such point, the intrinsic advantages of hybrid polymer solar cells in terms of low cost and thermal stability of the nanoscale structure could be fully exploited.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ren Janssen
r.a.j.janssen@tue.nl
31-622-455-438
Eindhoven University of Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology technology :

1. Looking Older Than You Are May Have Little to Do With Wrinkles
2. Looking at AMD Through Patients' Eyes: Viscira Virtual Exhibit Educates Physicians by Personalizing Serious Eye Disease
3. Consumers Looking to Sustainable Food Production to Feed Global Population
4. Biopolymers Symposium 2009 Teams with Carbonfund.org to Create a Zero-Carbon Event
5. SyntheMed Receives US Patent on Novel Polymer Technology
6. Symphony Medical Changes Name to CardioPolymers, Inc.
7. Oxford Performance Materials Introduces OXPEKK PermettaTM High Performance Polymer Films
8. Frost & Sullivan Recognizes Kraton Polymers for Developing a New Generation of Polymer Grades Suitable for High-Speed Processing in Nonwoven Manufacture
9. Micell Technologies Rapid Absorption Polymer DES System to be Presented at CRT 2009
10. Polymer Science Releases New Silicone Gel Adhesive Products for MD&M West
11. Oregon theory may help design tomorrows sustainable polymer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Looking deeply into polymer solar cells
(Date:5/23/2016)... May 23, 2016 - Leading CRO,s Use ... - Frontage Implement a Single Platform to Manage End-to-end Operations ... Within the Bioanalytical lab Frontage Laboratories, a full-service contract ... and China , has selected IDBS, ... In addition to serving as the global electronic lab notebook (ELN), ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... ... May 20, 2016 , ... Kablooe Design, a leading provider of product design ... 25th anniversary of the business. “We have worked hard to build long-term relationships,” says ... the privilege and honor of serving their product design and development needs through the ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... , May 19, 2016 ... will fully recover given the relentless pressures in pricing ... sure in the investors circle though - numerous opportunities ... Ahead of today,s session, ActiveWallSt.com,s presents four names in ... ), Vitae Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VTAE ), ...
(Date:5/18/2016)... ... May 18, 2016 , ... Shimadzu Scientific Instruments announces ... of Toledo. This two-day camp will take place annually starting June 2016. It ... pharmaceutical sciences in preparation for a university academic program. , The laboratory- ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/31/2016)... RATON, Florida , March 31, 2016 ... LEGX ) ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") ... for potential users of its soon to be launched ... video ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTLBzmZogV1y2D6bDkBX5g ) will also provide ... the use of DNA technology to an industry that ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... March 29, 2016 LegacyXChange, Inc. ... "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to announce our ... in a variety of writing instruments, ensuring athletes signatures ... created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange will be assured ... the DNA. Bill Bollander , CEO ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by Type ... Others), Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home ... Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... expected to reach USD 26.76 Billion by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):