New breakthrough to boost solar cells` efficiency by more than 30 %

Last Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014 - 18:27

Washington: Researchers have found an easy way to modify the molecular structure of a polymer commonly used in solar cells, which could lead to more than 30 percent increase in solar cell efficiency.

A team of chemists led by Jianhui Hou from the Chinese Academy of Sciences created a polymer known as PBT-OP from two commercially available monomers and one easily synthesized monomer.
Wei Ma, a post-doctoral physics researcher from NC State and corresponding author on a paper describing the research, conducted the X-ray analysis of the polymer`s structure and the donor: acceptor morphology.

PBT-OP was not only easier to make than other commonly used polymers, but a simple manipulation of its chemical structure gave it a lower HOMO level than had been seen in other polymers with the same molecular backbone.

PBT-OP 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.
According to North Carolina State University physicist and co-author Harald Ade , said that in this case, they found a chemically easy way to change the electronic structure and enhance device efficiency by capturing a lager fraction of the light`s energy, without changing the material`s ability to absorb, create and transport energy.

The researchers` findings appear in Advanced Materials.


First Published: Monday, January 6, 2014 - 18:27

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