New plastic solar cells create world record for conversion efficiency

The latest research by scientists at Wake Forest University has made humans a big step in finding solutions to energy problems. Scientists at the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials have increased the efficiency of plastic solar cells to more than 6%.

In an article to be published in the latest issue of Applied Physics Letters, scientists describe how they achieved this record of efficiency. They made nanofilaments by using light absorbing plastics similar to the grain of the leaves. The team applied a thicker absorber layer in the battery, which captures more sunlight.

Due to their low price and light weight, efficient plastic solar cells are favored, especially compared to conventional silicon solar cells. Traditional batteries are heavy and large, and can only convert 12% of the received light into electrical energy. Scientists have been looking for flexible organic solar cells that can be crimped and covered for many years.

Before 2005, the highest efficiency of plastic solar cells was only 3%, and then David Carroll, director of Wake Forest Nano Center, announced that they had increased this number to 5%. Then about a year later, Carroll said his team exceeded the 6% mark.

Carroll said: "In two years, we have more than doubled the efficiency. I look forward to achieving higher efficiency in the next two years, making plastic devices a real choice." To achieve commercialization The requirement that solar energy must be converted to electricity is at least 8%. The Wake Forest team hopes to achieve 10% efficiency in the next year.

Because of the foldability, plastic solar cells can replace the roofing material and be incorporated into the wall. They can also be used in cars, and plastic batteries are lighter in weight, so no additional support equipment is needed.

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