Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Solar power: Light work

Printing the active coating onto organic photovoltaic solar cells instead of using other methods, such as spreading it by centrifugal force, improves the efficiency of solar-cell manufacture, according to industry scientists.

Solar cells based on organic compounds can be cheaper, lighter and more versatile than silicon-based cells, but are much less efficient at converting sunlight into electrical power.
The printing technique developed by Claudia Hoth and her colleagues at the German arm of Konarka Technologies, a solar materials manufacturer based in Lowell, Massachusetts, allows organic solar cells to be produced more simply and quickly, which might make them commercially viable.

The efficiency of cells made by this method is 3.5%, still lagging behind the 5.21% efficiency of the best organic solar cells produced by more conventional methods.
Nano Lett. 8, 2806–2813 (2008)

Source: Nature 455, 435 (25 September 2008) doi:10.1038/455435d;
Published online 24 September 2008

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