Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Materials that can revolutionize how light is harnessed for solar energy

20.08.2019

Researchers develop new design rule for generating excitons will help advance next-generation devices

Researchers at Columbia University have developed a way to harness more power from singlet fission to increase the efficiency of solar cells, providing a tool to help push forward the development of next-generation devices.


Magnetic field data that shows the formation and decay of the excitons generated by singlet fission.

Credit: A. Asadpoor Darvish, McCamey Lab


Luis Campos, Columbia University

Columbia-led study develops method to harness more power from singlet fission to increase the efficiency of solar cells.

Credit: Campos Lab

In a study published this month in Nature Chemistry, the team details the design of organic molecules that are capable of generating two excitons per photon of light, a process called singlet fission.

The excitons are produced rapidly and can live for much longer than those generated from their inorganic counterparts, which leads to an amplification of electricity generated per photon that is absorbed by a solar cell.

"We have developed a new design rule for singlet fission materials," said Luis Campos, an associate professor of chemistry and one of three principal investigators on the study. "This has led us to develop the most efficient and technologically useful intramolecular singlet fission materials to date. These improvements will open the door for more efficient solar cells."

All modern solar panels operate by the same process - one photon of light generates one exciton, Campos explained. The exciton can then be converted into electric current. However, there are some molecules that can be implemented in solar cells that have the ability to generate two excitons from a single photon - a process called singlet fission.

These solar cells form the basis for next-generation devices, which are still at infancy. One of the biggest challenges of working with such molecules, though, is that the two excitons "live" for very short periods of time (tens of nanoseconds), making it difficult to harvest them as a form of electricity.

In the current study, funded in part by the Office of Naval Research, Campos and colleagues designed organic molecules that can quickly generate two excitons that live much longer than the state-of-the-art systems. It is an advancement that can not only be used in next-generation solar energy production, but also in photocatalytic processes in chemistry, sensors, and imaging, Campos explained, as these excitons can be used to initiate chemical reactions, which can then be used by industry to make drugs, plastics, and many other types of consumer chemicals.

"Intramolecular singlet fission has been demonstrated by our group and others, but the resulting excitons were either generated very slowly, or they wouldn't last very long," Campos said. "This work is the first to show that singlet fission can rapidly generate two excitons that can live for a very long time. This opens the door to fundamentally study how these excitons behave as they sit on individual molecules, and also to understand how they can be efficiently put to work in devices that benefit from light-amplified signals."

The team's design strategy should also prove useful in separate areas of scientific study and have many other yet-unimaginable applications, he added.

###

Campos' study co-authors are: Samuel Sanders and Andrew Pun, of Columbia University; Matthew Y. Sfeir, of City University of New York; and Amir Asadpoordarvish, of the University of New South Wales.

Media Contact

Jessica Guenzel
jg3570@columbia.edu
212-853-2096

 @columbia

http://www.columbia.edu 

Jessica Guenzel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://science.fas.columbia.edu/news/researchers-develop-materials-that-can-revolutionize-how-light-is-harnessed-for-solar-energy/

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Mobile measuring instruments: Caught in flight
07.07.2020 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

nachricht PCB-embedded GaN-on-Si half bridge circuits for modular use
06.07.2020 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Festkörperphysik IAF

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: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

Im Focus: ILA Goes Digital – Automation & Production Technology for Adaptable Aircraft Production

Live event – July 1, 2020 - 11:00 to 11:45 (CET)
"Automation in Aerospace Industry @ Fraunhofer IFAM"

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM l Stade is presenting its forward-looking R&D portfolio for the first time at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Restoring Vision Through Electrical Stimulation

09.07.2020 | Medical Engineering

Virtual Reality Environments for the Home Office

09.07.2020 | Information Technology

New ways to keep proteins healthy outside the cell

09.07.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>