Apr
19
2008

Popcorn-ball design doubles efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells

Popcorn shaped dye particles double cheaper solar cell efficiency

Popcorn-ball design doubles efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells: A close-up of a single ball, taken with a scanning electron microscope. The 300-nanometer sphere is large enough to scatter light. But its insides are made of tiny grains just 15 nanometers across.
Popcorn-ball design doubles efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells: A close-up of a single ball, taken with a scanning electron microscope. The 300-nanometer sphere is large enough to scatter light. But its insides are made of tiny grains just 15 nanometers across.Courtesy University of Washington
Dye-sensitized solar cells, which are more flexible, easier to manufacture, and cheaper than existing solar technologies just got even better.

By using particles shaped like popcorn, University of Washington researchers were able to increase solar cell efficiencies from 2.4 up to 6.2 per cent. The porosity of the large balls (300nm) allowed light to penetrate into the layers and bounce around between balls increasing absorption. Each balls surface was made of smaller spheres (15nm) increasing the effective surface area. One gram of this material has a surface area of 1000 square feet.

The research used the pigment zinc oxide, which is of lower efficiency than the commercially used titanium oxide, but easier to work with during experiments. Titanium oxide layers are expected to show similar gains. While titanium oxide cells currently have a record efficiency of 11 percent, the researchers hope that by using the new method they can by far surpass this old record, possibly even surpassing silicon cell efficiencies. Such progress could make silicon cells, used for decades, obsolete, replaced by cheaper, more efficient, flexible cells.

Source; University of Washington News

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

koallainfestation37's picture
koallainfestation37 says:

wow geneticly engineered popcorn
lame

posted on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 8:48am
andyshadexx's picture
andyshadexx says:

hmm i thought it ok i guess. a new way of getting energy..... >.>

posted on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 8:56am

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