Researchers Develop Materials That Can Revolutionize How Light is Harnessed for Solar Energy

Researchers Develop Materials That Can Revolutionize How Light is Harnessed for Solar Energy

2019-08-21T06:52:20+00:00August 21st, 2019|Solar Energy|

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.

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.

In a study published this week 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.

Source : https://www.enn.com/articles/59289-researchers-develop-materials-that-can-revolutionize-how-light-is-harnessed-for-solar-energy