Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research to probe deep within a solar cell

26.02.2013
Engineers and scientists from the University of Sheffield have pioneered a new technique to analyse PCBM, a material used in polymer photovoltaic cells, obtaining details of the structure of the material which will be vital to improving the cell's efficiency. The findings are published in Applied Physics Letters.
Working with the ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source at the Science and Technology Facilities Council Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the researchers are the first to use a cutting-edge neutron scattering technique called SERGIS to analyse PCBM. The technique – still very much in development – has so far only been tested on samples with well-known, regular structures, such as diffraction gratings.

The experiment focused on crystallites of PCBM which were on the surface of a thin film of the solar cell material as the researchers could then verify their findings using other analysis techniques, such as atomic force microscopy. But they believe the technique could in future be used to analyse the material's structure deep inside the active layers of a solar cell. This will enable them to understand how different fabrication methods impact on the cell's structure, and therefore its efficiency.

Dr Alan Dunbar from Sheffield's Faculty of Engineering explains: "The SERGIS technique uses polarised neutrons which are bounced off the sample being tested. Where the resulting neutrons end up and how their polarisation has changed tells us information about the structure within our samples. The advantage of this type of technique is that because neutrons only interact weakly with the sample we can probe much deeper where many microscopy techniques cannot see."

"This is the first time the technique has been used to look at this material which is of real interest to science. It enabled us to map the size of the PCBM crystallites and the distance between them, both properties which are key to improving efficiency."

Research into photovoltaics is one of many areas of energy research conducted at the University of Sheffield, including wind power, nuclear power, biofuels, district heating and carbon capture.

SERGIS – which stands for neutron spin echo resolved grazing incidence scattering – can only be conducted in a few places worldwide, among them the ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source in Oxfordshire.

Abigail Chard | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.shef.ac.uk/

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Open, flexible assembly platform for optical systems
24.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnologie IPT

nachricht A big nano boost for solar cells
18.01.2017 | Kyoto University and Osaka Gas effort doubles current efficiencies

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>