Researchers at the University of Hiroshima in Japan have combined several polymers and semiconductor molecules as photo-absorbers to create a solar cell with higher energy efficiency and high electricity generation. These types of solar cells, known as organic photovoltaics (OPVs), are devices that produce light when light is generated on photovoltaics. The efficiency of a solar cell is determined by how much electricity is generated and compared to the light above the cell. This is called the “photon harvest,” or how much light particles are converted into electric current. The more efficient a solar cell is, the more efficient and pragmatic the cell is for commercial use.
The team at the Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering added only a small number of compounds that absorb long wavelengths of light, resulting in an OPV that was 1.5 times more effective than the non-compound version. The compound was able to improve the absorption intensity due to the optical interference effect of the device. The team continued to show how the key is distributed to improve efficiency to generate more energy.
“Adding a very small amount of sensitizing material composed of a semiconductor polymer that we have previously developed with other materials to an OPV cell,” said Itaru Osaka, author of the article, published in November 2020 Macromolecules.
“This leads to a significant increase in photocurrent and thus power conversion efficiency due to the amplified photon absorption generated by the optical interference effect. The key is to use a very precise polymer that allows a very thick semiconductor layer for OPV cells. compared to a thin one “.
As for future work, Osaka aims to transcend the state of the art of solar cells.
“Our next step is to develop better semiconductor polymers as hosts for this type of OPV and as better sensitizing materials that can absorb more photons in wavelength regions. This would lead to greater efficiency in OPV cells in the world.”
Reference: Masahiko Saito, Yasunari Tamai, Hiroyuki Ichikawa, Hiroyuki Yoshida, Daisuke Yokoyama, Hideo Ohkita and Itaru Osaka November 25, 2020, Macromolecules.
DOI: 10.1021 / acs.macromol.0c01787
Funding: Japan Science and Technology Agency, Japan Science Promotion Association