Monday, April 30, 2007

Plastic solar cell efficiency breaks record at WFU nanotechnology center

The global search for a sustainable energy supply is making significant strides at Wake Forest University as researchers at the university�s Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials have announced that they have pushed the efficiency of plastic solar cells to more than 6 percent.
In a paper to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Applied Physics Letters, Wake Forest researchers describe how they have achieved record efficiency for organic or flexible, plastic solar cells by creating �nano-filaments� within light absorbing plastic, similar to the veins in tree leaves.  This allows for the use of thicker absorbing layers in the devices, which capture more of the sun�s light.
In order to be considered a viable technology for commercial use, solar cells must be able to convert about 8 percent of the energy in sunlight to electricity.  Wake Forest researchers hope to reach 10 percent in the next year, said Carroll, who is also associate professor of physics at Wake Forest.