Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Clean Power

Better And Cheaper Organic Solar Cells On The Horizon Thanks To Alternatives To Fullerene

 
Cheaper and more efficient solar cells are within reach thanks to new research that has deepened our understanding of fullerene, a primary but expensive component of organic solar cells. The new research has clarified a great deal about how they function, and will help in the development of cheaper, better replacements for them.

20121214-024759.jpg

While organic solar cells have changed and improved a lot since their introduction about 20 years ago, there are limiting factors to them that haven’t been improved since they were invented — the fullerene component is one of them.

But now, thanks to the new research from the University of Warwick, an important property of fullerenes, “namely the availability of additional electron accepting states, which could be replicated to create a new class of ‘fullerene mimics’,” has been discovered.


 
This previously unknown property is believed by the researchers to be the reason that previous attempts at substituting for fullerene have failed. Fullerene’s ability to accept electrons in a variety of different excited states improves the speed and efficiency of electron capture and the charge separation process.

“The solar cell industry has been searching for an alternative to fullerenes for some time as they have many drawbacks as electronic acceptors, including a very limited light adsorption and a high cost. Also, going beyond fullerene derivatives would increase the possible blends that can be considered for organic solar cells,” a press release posted on Green Building Elements notes.

“However the Warwick scientists have shown that a new class of molecular acceptors with this electronic characteristic can be designed relatively easily, providing a route towards replacing fullerene derivatives in solar cells.”

Professor Troisi says: “Finding a replacement to fullerene has eluded the scientific community and the photovoltaics industry for the best part of two decades. By pinpointing this particular way in which fullerene behaves, we believe we have found a key which may unlock the door to new replacements for this material. Using this knowledge, we are now collaborating with experimentalists at University of Warwick to actively develop fullerene substitutes.”

A patent application has been filed and the scientists are keen to work with commercial partners to bring this technology to market.

The new research is described in a study published in the journal Advanced Materials.

Source: Green Building Elements
Image Credits: Copyright Fraunhofer ISE

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 

Advertisement
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

Comments

You May Also Like

Clean Power

18 years of hard work has resulted in the startup infinityPV finally commercializing products with printed solar photovoltaic foil.

Clean Power

A new "singlet fission" breakthrough in organic solar cell research suggests that the golfer-in-chief should spend less time on the links and more time...

Clean Power

The Germany-based organic solar PV company Heliatek will be providing solar films to be used in what will be, once completed, the largest building-integrated...

Clean Power

When I was at Abu Dhabi Ascent earlier this year, I got to speak with Dr. Steve Griffiths, Executive Director of Institute Initiatives at...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.