Tag Archives | Solar

Efficient, Inexpensive Plastic Solar Cells Coming Soon

Physicists have discovered new properties in a material that could result in efficient and inexpensive plastic solar cells. The discovery reveals that excitons, or energy-carrying particles generated by photons, can travel on the order of a thousand times farther in organic semiconductors than scientists previously observed. This boosts scientists’ hopes that organic solar cells may one day overtake silicon in cost and performance.

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Solar Cells Thinner Than Wavelengths of Light Hold Huge Power Potential

Ultra-thin solar cells can absorb sunlight more efficiently than the thicker, more expensive-to-make silicon cells used today, because light behaves differently at scales around a nanometer (a billionth of a meter), say engineers. They calculate that an organic polymer thin film could absorb as much as 10 times more energy from sunlight than was thought possible.

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Environmental Impact of Organic Solar Cells Assessed

To better understand the energy and environmental benefits and detriments of solar power, a research team has conducted one of the first life-cycle assessments of organic solar cells. The study found that the embodied energy — or the total energy required to make a product — is less for organic solar cells compared with conventional inorganic devices.

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Funneling Solar Energy: Antenna Made of Carbon Nanotubes Could Make Photovoltaic Cells More Efficient

Using carbon nanotubes (hollow tubes of carbon atoms), chemical engineers have found a way to concentrate solar energy 100 times more than a regular photovoltaic cell. Such nanotubes could form antennas that capture and focus light energy, potentially allowing much smaller and more powerful solar arrays.

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Computer in Wrapping-Paper Form Give Solar Cells a Makeover

Investigators in New York are giving factory production of solar energy cells a modern makeover. Their new approach includes the use of “continuous electronic sheets,” something like a computer flattened into wrapping paper.

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Off-the-Shelf Dyes Improve Solar Cells

Scientists report success in boosting the ability of zinc oxide solar cells to absorb visible light simply by applying a blended mixture of various off-the-shelf dyes commonly used in food and medical industries — in a soak-then-dry procedure not unlike that used to color a tee-shirt in a home washing machine.

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