Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Efficiently Organic: Researchers Use Pentacene To Develop Next-generation Solar Power

Date:
December 30, 2004
Source:
Georgia Institute Of Technology
Summary:
As the price of energy continues to rise, businesses are looking to renewable energy for cheaper sources of power. Making electricity from the most plentiful of these sources - the sun -can be expensive due to the high price of producing traditional silicon-based solar cells. Enter organic solar cells. Made from cheaper materials, their flexibility and feather-weight construction promise to open up new markets for solar energy, potentially powering everything from Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags to iPods and laptop computers.

The flexibility of organic solar cells will allow them to power a wide variety of products.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Georgia Institute Of Technology

Atlanta (December 13, 2004) -- As the price of energy continues to rise, businesses are looking to renewable energy for cheaper sources of power. Making electricity from the most plentiful of these sources - the sun -can be expensive due to the high price of producing traditional silicon-based solar cells. Enter organic solar cells. Made from cheaper materials, their flexibility and feather-weight construction promise to open up new markets for solar energy, potentially powering everything from Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags to iPods and laptop computers.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new approach to creating lightweight organic solar cells. By using pentacene, researchers have been able to convert sunlight to electricity with high efficiency. The research appears in the November 29, 2004 issue of the journal Applied Physics Letters.

“We’ve demonstrated that using a crystalline organic film, pentacene, is a promising new approach to developing organic solar cells,” said Bernard Kippelen, professor in the Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. “In our paper, we show that we’ve been able to convert solar energy into electricity with 2.7 percent efficiency. Since then, we’ve been able to demonstrate power conversion efficiencies of 3.4 percent and believe that we should reach 5 percent in the near future.”

What makes pentacene such a good material for organic solar cells, Kippelen explained, is that, unlike many of the other materials being studied for use in these cells, it’s a crystal. The crystal structure of atoms joined together in a regular pattern makes it easier for electricity to move through it than some other organic materials, which are more amorphous.

The research group, made up of Kippelen and research scientists Seunghyup Yoo and Benoit Domercq, used pentacene and C60, a form of carbon more popularly known as “buckyballs,” in the cells. Previous attempts by other groups using pentacene in solar cells combined the material with metals, rather than an organic molecule like C60.

“The metal-pentacene cells had very low efficiencies,” said Kippelen. “We decided we would pair out pentacene with an organic molecule because such a combination could generate larger currents.”

Once fully developed, organic solar cells could revolutionize the power industry. Their flexibility and minimal weight will allow them to be placed on almost anything from tents that would provide power to those inside, to clothing that would power personal electronic devices.

The solar cells are still at least five years away from residential applications, said Kippelen. But he estimates that they’ll be ready to use in smaller devices, such as RFID tags, used by some retailers to control inventory, within two years. Kippelen and other professors at the Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics started LumoFlex, a spin-off company based at Georgia Tech, to capitalize on the commercial applications of the research.

Tech founded the Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics in 2003, when Kippelen along with chemistry professors Seth Marder, Joe Perry and Jean-Luc Bredas came to Tech from the University of Arizona. The center teams up with the silicon-based research of the University Center for Excellence in Photovoltaics (UCEP) in Tech’s commitment to producing ground-breaking research and training in both organic and silicon solar cells.

“The silicon and organic photovoltaic groups are working together at Georgia Tech to accelerate the development of cost-effective solar cells to solve the energy and environmental problems simultaneously and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Ajeet Rohatgi, director of UCEP and regent’s professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

This year Tech began the Strategic Energy Initiative to carry out scientific and economic research and development on renewable energies like solar and wind power.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Institute Of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgia Institute Of Technology. "Efficiently Organic: Researchers Use Pentacene To Develop Next-generation Solar Power." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 December 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041220005834.htm>.
Georgia Institute Of Technology. (2004, December 30). Efficiently Organic: Researchers Use Pentacene To Develop Next-generation Solar Power. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041220005834.htm
Georgia Institute Of Technology. "Efficiently Organic: Researchers Use Pentacene To Develop Next-generation Solar Power." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041220005834.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins