Published on May 25th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan2
New Graphene Solar Cell Efficiency Record
May 25th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
Woops, another day, another two solar records (not just the MiaSole solar record just announced). Researchers in the University of Florida’s physics department have reportedly set a new record for graphene solar cell efficiency. Here’s more from the University of Florida:
Graphene solar cells are one of industry’s great hopes for cheaper, durable solar power cells in the future. But previous attempts to use graphene, a single-atom-thick honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms, in solar cells have only managed power conversion efficiencies ranging up to 2.9 percent. The UF team was able to achieve a record breaking 8.6 percent efficiency with their device by chemically treating, or doping, the graphene with trifluoromethanesulfonyl-amide, or TFSA. Their results are published in the current online edition of Nano Letters.
“The dopant makes the graphene film more conductive and increases the electric field potential inside the cell,” said Xiaochang Miao, a graduate student in the physics department. That makes it more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. And unlike other dopants that have been tried in the past, TFSA is stable — its effects are long lasting.
Exciting. Makes me think that we’re going to have so many types of solar technology cost competitive one day that the energy wars will be between different types of solar rather than different types of dirty energy (or dirty energy and renewables).
Image: graphene 3D rendering via Shutterstock