UCLA researchers identify keys to improved polymer solar cells

Paving the way for lighter and more flexible solar devices, UCLA researchers have identified the key principles for developing high-efficiency polymer solar cells.

Today’s commercially produced solar panels use silicon cells to efficiently convert sunlight to energy. But silicon panels are too heavy to be used for energy-producing coatings for buildings and cars, or flexible and portable power supplies for use in remote areas. Polymer cells are better suited to these potential uses.

Researchers led by Yang Yang, the Carol and Lawrence E. Tannas Jr. Professor of Engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, demonstrated improvement in the architecture and performance of polymer cells. The group successfully blended different pairs of polymers — or synthetic plastics — to enable devices to absorb light from a larger part of the solar spectrum. They also identified criteria that could lead to even greater solar cell efficiency and absorption of light as researchers develop new polymers.

The research was published in Nature Photonics.

The above is an excerpt of UCLA researchers identify keys to improved polymer solar cells by Bill Kisliuk for UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). Image Credit: UCLA.