November 3, 2008
The dyes have it
Come up with the right dye and you can
boost the performance of a potentially inexpensive type of solar cell.
Three research teams have made new dyes for dye-sensitized
solar cells that give the solar cells' efficiencies of about 10 percent.
Like previous dyes, the new dyes are compounds that include the metal
ruthenium. The best previous ruthenium-based dyes also give efficiencies
of about ten percent, but they weren't suitable for practical use.
The active layer in dye-sensitized solar cells is a dye-covered
semiconductor material, usually titanium dioxide. The dye absorbs
photons and emits electrons. The semiconductor transports the electrons
to an electrode. In traditional silicon solar cells, photon absorption,
charge separation and charge transport are all done by the silicon.
Dye-sensitized solar cells are about half as efficient as
silicon solar cells but have the potential to be much less expensive.
Efficiency Records for Stable Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells with Low-Volatility
and Ionic Liquid Electrolytes
Journal of Physical Chemistry C, published online October 11,
Ruthenium Dyes for Efficient Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
ChemSusChem, published online October 29, 2008
Efficient Donor–Acceptor Ruthenium Complex for Dye-Sensitized Solar
Energy & Environmental Science, published online October 27,
State Key Laboratory
of Polymer Physics and Chemistry
Laboratory for Photonics
and Interfaces, Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne
Related stories and briefs:
boost dye solar cells -- related research
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November 3/10, 2008
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