TUESDAY, 31 AUGUST 2010
Solar panels absorb energy from the sunlight and dissociate the charges to produce an electric current. Organic solar panels use conjugated polymers for light absorption. Until now, a technical difficulty had been that the charge dissociation of these materials is very poor and photo-induces energy that cannot be collected efficiently.
Yana Vaynzof and his Cambridge team added an extra layer of material to overcome this problem: their system still relies on a organic polymer to catch the light, but works with an metal-oxide layer underneath it to increase the charge dissociation. This improved the efficiency of the solar panel from 30% for the unmodified devices to nearly 100% for panels with a metal-oxide layer.
Written by Sara Deitz Organic solar cells have significant advantages over conventional solar cells: they have a low impact on the environment, manufacturing is cheap and because they based on flexible plastic sheets their applications outperform the current use of solar panels.