Researchers at MIT believe that the use of graphene as an electrode material in organic solar cells could make them cheaper to produce and could open up a host of new applications for the technology.
Organic solar cells are constantly improving and have great potential, but some issues are still holding them back from really taking off. The efficiency of such cells still lags behind that of traditional silicon cells and, so far, the only electrode material that has been successful is rare and expensive indium-tin-oxide (ITO).
The researchers have begun experimenting with inexpensive and readily available graphene, a form of carbon where the atoms form a flat sheet just one atom thick, arranged like chicken-wire, as an electrode. The use of graphene has lots of benefits over ITO, namely transparency. Because it's transparent just like the organic solar cells themselves, the cells could be applied to windows or even on top of other solar panels, boosting overall electricity output. Graphene is also flexible, where ITO is rigid, meaning the cells could be applied to irregular wall or rooftop surfaces and folded or rolled for easy transportation.
And, just as importantly, the graphene's performance as an electrode material is very similar to the ITO, making it a suitable replacement.
written by Skip Hire Croydon, January 13, 2011
written by THEKPV, January 18, 2011
written by Waste Management, November 07, 2011
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