by Staff Writers
Tallahassee FL (SPX) Dec 07, 2015
Florida State University researchers are striving to make solar cells more effective at trapping and using light. They're one step closer.
In a new paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Kenneth Hanson and his team have introduced a new strategy for generating more efficient solar cells. The team is composed of post-doctoral researcher Tanmay Banerjee and graduate students Sean Hill and Tristan Dilbeck.
"We're looking not only for new materials but also new light harvesting processes to make solar cells better," Hanson said.
Though solar cells have grown in popularity, they are still not widely used by the general public as an energy source due to their high cost and low efficiency. A typical solar cell, at maximum, converts less than 33 percent of light into electricity, so researchers have been working to find ways to surpass this limit and make cells more efficient.
In the past, scientists have put an extra photon upconversion filter before or after the cell to catch the low energy, unused light and convert it into usable, high-energy light. But, Hanson wanted to integrate this process directly into the cell.
The researchers were able to do that by using self-assembly. Through a soaking procedure, they assembled two molecules, an acceptor and sensitizer, on a surface. Once assembled, these molecules work in concert to perform photon upconverion, combining two low energy, green photons to generate a higher energy, blue photon, which can then be used to generate electricity.
Using this process in an optimized solar cell can increase the maximum efficiency from 33 percent to more than 45 percent. The team is also confident they can generate even better numbers in the future.
"It's definitely a stepping stone toward making more efficient solar cells," Hanson said. "Our current work demonstrates a feasible method."
Scientists worldwide have been working on how to make more efficient solar cells through a variety of mechanisms and different materials. The solar market has grown considerably over the past few years, and as emphasis on clean energy grows, more resources will likely be devoted to creating better solar options.
A recent Department of Energy study estimates that solar energy, which is 0.05 of the current power supply, will grow to 14 percent by 2030 and 27 percent by 2050.
Hanson is a part of the Energy and Materials Strategic Initiative with the mission of producing high tech materials for new generation, energy sustainable technology. Members of the initiative are working on a variety of high-tech materials including solar cells, light emitting diodes and photoactive molecules.
Florida State University
All About Solar Energy at SolarDaily.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|