New cost-effective solar cell color is simple to produce as well as works well in reduced light problems

Mar 24, 2021 03:14 PM ET
  • EPFL researchers have established a new color for solar cells that enables high power-conversion performance while being simple and affordable to make. The color additionally works remarkably well under low-light problems, which is vital for self- as well as low-powered devices.
New cost-effective solar cell color is simple to produce as well as works well in reduced light problems
Image: Jean-David Décoppet and Alejandra Hauser

In 1991, scientists Brian O'Regan as well as Michael Grätzel at EPFL published a seminal paper explaining a new kind of solar cell: the dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC), likewise known as "Grätzel cell." Simple and affordable to build while being flexible and versatile, DSSCs are currently manufactured on a multi-megawatt scale, reducing a substantial piece of the solar market, which currently supplies virtually 3% of all the world's electrical energy, well in the race to decrease carbon discharges.

Now, Dan Zhang and also Marko Stojanovic, 2 Ph.D. trainees in Grätzel's laboratory at EPFL's School of Basic Sciences, have actually led the development of a simple color for DSSCs, called MS5. In devices, this new sensitizer can either be made use of as solitary dye, as well as create an open-circuit voltage-- the maximum voltage a solar cell can get to in full sunshine-- of 1.24 Volts or as co-sensitizer, along with the commercial dye XY1b, and also allow a power conversion efficiency of 13.5 %. Both are amongst the highest in the field of DSSCs.

The work is released in Nature Communications.

The team used this new dye in mix with an additional natural sensitizer coded XY1b. Apart from absorbing photons from heaven as well as yellow domain of the solar exhaust, the role of the brand-new color in this tandem is to enhance the voltage output of the device by slowing down the recombination of charge carriers created by light. Called MS5, the photosensitizer was made use of with a copper (II/I) electrolyte to enable the DSSC achieve its excellent effectiveness.

" Our work comprises a vital innovation in the work of DSSCs and specifically dye design," says Michael Grätzel." It reveals that high performances are attainable with a reasonably simple dye via cautious molecular design of the sensitizer's molecular framework."

Evaluated under ambient light conditions, the color showed outstanding performance, which is important for photovoltaics to be efficient under gloomy conditions, or in-door applications to power electronic tools applied e.g. for the net of points. As well as finally, MS5 is easy to synthesize up to the gram scale utilizing a one-step procedure that scientists define in their paper.

"Our results not only press the field of dye-sensitized solar cells even more, but demonstrate EPFL's prominent know-how in the field," states Marko Stojanovic.

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