August 19, 2013
No Writer Credit
What is the Scientific Achievement?
Two crucial tasks exist for realizing high-efficiency polymer solar cells: increasing the range of the spectral absorption of light and efficiently harvesting photo-generated excitons. In this work, Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based heterojunction polymer solar cells that incorporate squaraine dye (SQ) were fabricated and investigated. The high absorbance of squaraine in the near-infrared region broadens the spectral absorption of the solar cells and assists in developing an ordered nano-morphology for enhanced charge transport. Femtosecond spectroscopic studies revealed highly efficient (up to 96%) excitation energy transfer from poly(3-hexylthiophene), also known as P3HT, to squaraine occurring on a picosecond timescale. A 38% increase in power conversion efficiency was realized to reach 4.5%; this finding suggests that this system has improved exciton migration over long distances. This architecture transcends traditional multiblend systems, allowing multiple donor materials with separate spectral responses to work synergistically, thereby enabling an improvement in light absorption and conversion. This discovery opens up a new avenue for the development of high-efficiency polymer solar cells.
Next generation solar panels could yield substantially lower costs per kilowatt-hour with this technological development.
Why Does This Matter?
A new energy transfer mechanism has been exploited for the first time, allowing significantly more efficient energy harvesting in P3HT/dye solar cells compared to P3HT-alone solar cells. Also, broadening the light absorption spectrum into the near-infrared region and developing nanoscale parts to the solar cell has improved the device.
Energy level diagram of the components of the ternary blend solar cell highlighting pathways for charge generation.
Allowing different light-absorbing materials to work synergistically has led to well-ordered polymer networks without post-processing.”
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One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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