Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No. 230: Fundamental technology for organic thin film photovoltaic cell (January 25, 2011)

A research team led by Kyushu University developed the fundamental technology to increase the performance of organic thin film photovoltaic cell. Panasonic Electric Works and Lintec participated in the project. All the three organization are members of BEANS Laboratory in Tokyo. They improved the structure of the surface of the thin film and increased the efficiency to convert light to electricity, paving the way to the performance comparable to that of silicon solar cell. Organic thin film photovoltaic cell is sheet-like and light. It is not as durable as silicon solar cell, but it can be produced at a much less production cost required by silicone solar cell. It generates electricity under a fluorescent lamp and can be folded to carry. The newly developed technology puts many bowl-shaped prongs about 40 nanometers in diameter each on the semiconductor organic material. Experiments showed that the bowl-shaped prongs improved the performance considerably. The research team predicts that the conversion efficiency can be increased to about 6%. Because organic thin film photovoltaic cell can be piled up, it can realize a conversion efficiency of higher than 10% for applications to house walls and mobile phone surfaces in the future. The research team plans to put the technology into practical use toward 2015.

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