Researchers have stumbled upon a new discovery that could revolutionize the solar cell industry. It is an easy method that simply modifies the molecular structure of a polymer commonly used in solar cells
This can increase solar cell efficiency by over 30 percent.
Polymer-based solar cells have two domains, consisting of an electron acceptor and an electron donor material. Excitons are the energy particles created by solar cells when light is absorbed.
“In order to be harnessed effectively as an energy source, excitons must be able to travel quickly to the interface of the donor and acceptor domains and retain as much of the light’s energy as possible,” said a team researchers from North Carolina State University in the US and Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Sciences.
A team of chemists led by Jianhui Hou from the Chinese Academy of Sciences created a polymer known as PBT-OP.
“PBT-OP was not only easier to make than other commonly used polymers but showed an open circuit voltage (the voltage available from a solar cell) value of 0.78 volts – a 36 percent increase over the 0.6 volt average from similar polymers,” said Wei Ma, a post-doctoral physics researcher from NC State University.
“But in this case, we have found a chemically easy way to change the electronic structure and enhance device efficiency by capturing a larger fraction of the light’s energy, without changing the material’s ability to absorb, create and transport energy,” said the study carried in the journal Advanced Materials.