Researchers at Kanazawa University performed a detailed investigation of the molecular mechanisms by which organic solar cells suffer damage as they are exposed to sunlight.
Researchers at Kanazawa University performed a detailed investigation of the molecular mechanisms by which organic solar cells suffer damage as they are exposed to sunlight. This research has important implications for developing next-generation solar sheets that combine high efficiency, low cost, and long device lifetimes.
Solar power represents an important element of future renewable energy solutions. Historically, solar panels have tended to be inefficient or else too expensive for most homeowners to consider installing. A new class of solar cells that utilizes layers of carbon-based polymers offers efficiency of up to 10% – which is considered the minimum for practical use – at an affordable price point. The primary remaining obstacle to wide adoption of these new photovoltaics is the short lifetime of these devices because cumulative damage from the sun tends to erode their performance. Owing to the multilayer nature of the devices, it is often difficult to identify molecular mechanism by which this degradation of efficacy occurs over time.
Now, based on the results of current-voltage curves, impedance spectroscopy, and UV-VIS spectrophotometry, a research team at Kanazawa University has determined an important factor that can cause reduced performance. Similar to the way your carbon-based skin cells can get a nasty sunburn from the sun’s ultraviolet light after a day at the beach, the researchers found that the fragile organic molecules in the semiconducting layer can be damaged from exposure.
Read more at Kanazawa University
Image: Analytical results and method for organic solar cell after 100 h light irradiation (Credit: Kanazawa University)