Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

University of Florida physicists set new record for graphene solar cell efficiency

25.05.2012
Doping may be a no-no for athletes, but researchers in the University of Florida’s physics department say it was key in getting unprecedented power conversion efficiency from a new graphene solar cell created in their lab.

Graphene solar cells are one of industry’s great hopes for cheaper, durable solar power cells in the future. But previous attempts to use graphene, a single-atom-thick honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms, in solar cells have only managed power conversion efficiencies ranging up to 2.9 percent.

The UF team was able to achieve a record breaking 8.6 percent efficiency with their device by chemically treating, or doping, the graphene with trifluoromethanesulfonyl-amide, or TFSA. Their results are published in the current online edition of Nano Letters.

“The dopant makes the graphene film more conductive and increases the electric field potential inside the cell,” said Xiaochang Miao, a graduate student in the physics department. That makes it more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. And unlike other dopants that have been tried in the past, TFSA is stable — its effects are long lasting.

The solar cell that Miao and her co-workers created in the lab looks like a 5-mm-square window framed in gold. The window, a wafer of silicon coated with a monolayer of graphene, is where the magic happens.

Graphene and silicon, when they come together, form what is called a Schottky junction — a one-way street for electrons that when illuminated with light, acts as the power conversion zone for an entire class of solar cells. Schottky junctions are commonly formed by layering a metal on top of a semiconductor. But researchers at the UF Nanoscience Institute for Medical and Engineering Technologies discovered in 2011 that graphene, a semi-metal, made a suitable substitute for metal in creating the junction.

“Graphene, unlike conventional metals, is transparent and flexible, so it has great potential to be an important component in the kind of solar cells we hope to see incorporated into building exteriors and other materials in the future,” said Arthur Hebard, distinguished professor of physics at UF and co-author on the paper. “Showing that its power-converting capabilities can be enhanced by such a simple, inexpensive treatment bodes well for its future.”

The researchers said that if graphene solar cells reach 10 percent power conversion efficiency they could be a contender in the market place, if production costs are kept low enough.

The prototype solar cell created in the UF lab was built on a rigid base of silicon, which is not considered an economical material for mass production. But Hebard said that he sees real possibilities for combining the use of doped graphene with less expensive, more flexible substrates like the polymer sheets currently under development in research laboratories around the world.

Credits
WriterDonna Hesterman , donna.hesterman@ufl.edu, 352-846-2573SourceArthur Hebard, afh@ufl.edu, 352-222-6212SourceXiaochang Miao, xxmiaophy@gmail.com,

352-871-4116

Arthur Hebard | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ufl.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials
17.01.2018 | Universität des Saarlandes

nachricht Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume
15.01.2018 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Polymers Based on Boron?

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

World’s oldest known oxygen oasis discovered

18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>