Solar cells will doubtless play a significant part in a sustainable energy future. Polymer solar cells (PSCs) specifically provide an excellent option because they are cheap to produce and can be both flexible and semitransparent.
New solar cell devices that are cheaper and easier to make could soon make their way to market thanks to materials made at Imperial College London.
A detailed view of how electrical charges behave inside perovskites could guide efforts to improve the performance of next-generation solar cells based on these materials, KAUST research has shown.
Perovskites are a family of materials that are currently the leading contender to potentially replace today's silicon-based solar photovoltaics. They hold the promise of panels that are far thinner and lighter, that could be made with ultra-high throughput at room temperature instead of at hundreds of degrees, and that are cheaper and easier to transport and install.
A German research team has developed a tandem solar cell that reaches 24 per cent efficiency – measured according to the fraction of photons converted into electricity (i.e. electrons). This sets a new world record as the highest efficiency achieved so far with this combination of organic and perovskite-based absorbers.
The technology enables completely new types of implants that can be used to stimulate nerve cells and was developed in a joint effort by researchers from Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), the Medical University of Graz (Med Uni Graz), the University of Zagreb and the Czech CEITEC. The basis of this technology involves colour pigments from the food industry, such as those used in organic solar cells.
For a greener and more sustainable economy, building better and more powerful solar cells is a key research goal within the clean energy sector. But, in a typical single-junction solar cell, performance is capped at what is called the Shockley–Queisser limit (a theoretical limit for the maximum efficiency that a solar cell can reach).
About 750 million people in the world do not have access to electricity at night. Solar cells provide power during the day, but saving energy for later use requires substantial battery storage.
A team co-led team by the University of Surrey has successfully increased the levels of energy absorbed by wafer-thin photovoltaic panels by 25%. Their solar panels, just one micrometre thick (1µm), convert light into electricity more efficiently than others as thin and pave the way to make it easier to general more clean, green energy.
Materials scientists at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and colleagues from five other universities around the world have discovered the major reason why perovskite solar cells — which show great promise for improved energy-conversion efficiency — degrade in sunlight, causing their performance to suffer over time.