Tag Archives: solar cells

Organic Solar Cells: Spinning efficiency

Researchers at the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, U.K.) and the University of Washington (Seattle, Washington USA) have tackled the problem of relative inefficiency of organic solar cells by orchestrating their electronic ‘spin.’ It could be a breakthrough…. Organic solar cells have so much promise. Instead of silicon, these solar cells are constructed with polymers – […]
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Black plasmonic metals: Add to the list of potential solar cell improvement

To be flippant about it, it seems like new materials for solar cells are a dime a dozen. Meanwhile the old-fashioned silicon continues to beat the newbies on sheer manufacturing clout and price. However, not necessarily forever. There are some new materials with good research pedigrees. Case in point, a newly announced black plasmonic metal […]
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Plant-inspired solar energy synthesis

Perhaps we are naïve. We want to believe there are technological fixes for major problems. For example, we know we have to find ways of replacing oil (petroleum) as a major source of energy. We know, sooner or later, we will run out of oil. One alternative is to use less energy; unfortunately that ultimately […]
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Progress toward graphene solar cells

Traditionally solar cells are made from either silicon or a ruthenium compound. Unfortunately, ruthenium is relatively rare (a rare Earth element) and will not ‘scale’ to produce the enormous quantities needed for solar energy production. Silicon is what is used now, but silicon is relatively expensive to manufacture correctly. So scientists have been looking for […]
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Less silicon, better solar cell

Along the many trails to better solar cells, some paths may be better than others. (If they don’t turn out to be dead-ends.) Here’s an approach to solar (photovoltaic) cells from a research team at the California Institute of Technology (USA). It uses long silicon wires (microscale threads) embedded in a polymer sheet, and has […]
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Microsolar: Potentially a small revolution

Even for sober science, the word revolutionary gets thrown around far too much. Solar energy gets its share of hyperbole. So the notion that microphotovolatic cells – tiny solar cells about the size of decorative glitter – could revolutionize the solar energy industry might be yet another hyperstretch. Then again, the option to use micro-cells […]
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Fold-away solar cells

Most of the pictures you see of serious solar power installations involves large flat panels of solar cells, sometimes acres of them, or whole rooftops covered with panels. To ask a rhetorical question, would it not be better if less space were used and the installation not so conspicuous? That’s the goal of a new […]
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