Researchers have integrated a biocompatible silk fibroin with a mesh of silver nanowires to achieve a flexible, transparent, and biodegradable substrate for efficient plastic solar cell. The most common flexible substrates used for flexible solar cells so far have been synthetic polymers such as PET and PEN. However, if organic solar cells are to be applied onto clothes and other soft surfaces, some of which come into direct contact with skin, they are required to be human-compatible, non-toxic and non-irritable.
In recent years, polymer solar cells have drawn considerable research interest due to their attractive features including flexibility, semi-transparency, and manufacturability using cost-effective continuous printing processes. However, one challenge limiting their commercialization is the relatively low power conversion efficiency when compared to inorganic solar cells. New work shows that low bandgap polymer solar cells with high efficiency of 5.5% can be fabricated using nanoimprint lithography.
A large part of low-energy photons, such as in the deep-red and infrared, are lost during conventional photovoltaic or photochemical processes. However, about half of all the solar energy reaching the Earth's surface can be found in these wavelengths.
Harvesting this light more efficiently is possible thanks to a process called photon energy upconversion. Researchers now have successfully synthesized a bioinspired upconverting solid-state-like film using nanocellulose.
Researchers present an efficient design for a triple-junction organic tandem solar cell featuring a configuration of bandgap energies designed to maximize the tandem photocurrent output. The key innovation in this study is the demonstration of organic materials being able to mimic the record-setting efficiency of triple-junction structures in III-V solar cells. The team set out to determine a practical combination of bandgap energies for triple junctions to develop an efficient organic tandem solar cell structure.
Ever since its discovery in 2004, graphene has been considered a relatively stable, high surface area platform to anchor nanostructured catalyst materials for various electrochemical and photocatalytic applications. The emergence of solution-based graphene in the form of graphene oxide has enabled new wet-chemistry approaches to the creation of graphene-based nanocomposites. A new study raises questions about the long-term stability of reduced graphene oxide in an aqueous environment where hydroxyl radicals can be present as part of the photocatalytic reaction cycle.
Conjugated polymer based organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices have been the subject of increasing research interest over the past years due to their potential of being light weight, mechanically flexible, semitransparent. To increase the efficiency of OPV, it is necessary to achieve a precisely controlled donor-acceptor phase separation within the short exciton diffusion length without dead ends, as well as a high hole mobility within the polymer. Now, researchers have demonstrated the effects of nanostructure geometry on the nanoimprint induced P3HT chain alignment and the performance of nanoimprinted photovoltaic devices.
Researchers report for the first time the fabrication and measurement of all-inkjet-printed, all-air-processed organic solar cells. Organic photovoltaic technologies have the potential to become a thin-film alternative to inorganic silicon photovoltaics due to their intrinsic potential for low-cost print processing from solution - high-speed and at low temperature. Organic solar cells can be integrated into building facades and windows because they are optically translucent and can be manufactured on large areas at high throughput.
Almost all strategies for solar energy harvest and solar energy storage that exist today are developed as independent technologies. For instance, a solar cell generates electricity from the absorption and conversion of sunlight, while the storage of the produced electricity has to be implemented with another set of energy utilization solutions such as batteries/supercapacitors and fuel cells. With quite an ingenious solution, researchers have now demonstrated a hybrid, multifunctional material system that allows for simultaneous solar power generation (respectively hydrogen production), electrical energy storage, and chemical sensing.