Solar

Carbon nanotubes boost organic PV efficiency

Researchers at the University of Surrey Advanced Technology Institute used multi-walled carbon nanotubes to enhance the photo-current of organic photovoltaic solar cells.

September 15, 2011 — Researchers at the University of Surrey Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) used multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) to enhance the photo-current of organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar cells. Integrating CNTs could boost OPV efficiency without losing the solar technology’s light weight, low cost, and printable manufacturing benefits.

The researchers incorporated nanotubes into an ultra thin charge donor-acceptor organic material blend. The CNTs offer improved charge transfer from the solar cell to the electrical circuit. CNTs create triple junctions in organic solar cell structures, said Professor Ravi Silva, director of the ATI, allowing more charges to be extracted from the cell.

The researchers had to use a method of altering the outer tube (a technique that required multi-wall CNT) so that the nanotubes would mix well with the organic materials and solvents in manufacturing. This technique suits OPV made in large-area, printable, flexible form factors, added lead researcher Dr. Damitha Adikaari.

The techniques can also be used for organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) and other photonic systems.  

Results were published in Advanced Materials. Access it here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201101549/abstract

The research is fully sponsored by E.ON, an investor owned power and gas company with 5 global units responsible for Generation, Renewables, New Build & Technology, Gas and Trading.

Learn more at www.surrey.ac.uk

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