Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Finding a buckyball in a photovoltaic cell

Date:
October 1, 2010
Source:
American Institute of Physics
Summary:
A new technique analyzes the reflection of neutrons to locate buckyballs within composite materials. The work may lead to more effective research on photovoltaic devices.

Polymer-based photovoltaic cells have some real advantages compared to the currently used semiconductor-based cells. They are easy to make and the materials are cheap. The challenge is to figure out how to make efficient cells while keeping the manufacturing cost low.

One approach uses a light-absorbing polymer along with a derivative of a sixty-carbon fullerene molecule, commonly known as a buckyball. For maximum efficiency, the two materials must be present in thin layers near opposite electrodes but most analytical methods cannot distinguish between polymer and the buckyball well enough to characterize the plastic solar cell film.

New research reported in the Journal of Chemical Physics describes a technique that analyzes the reflection of neutrons to locate the buckyballs within the composite material.

"Neutron scattering is not a new technique but it has yet to be widely applied to this class of materials," says researcher Brian Kirby of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. "With this paper, we are providing an instruction book for researchers who want to use neutrons to study polymer photovoltaics."

He points out that while neutron scattering requires a reactor or particle accelerator -- not typical lab equipment -- scattering facilities are widely available to industrial and academic users.

Because both the polymer and the buckyball are composed mostly of carbon and their locations must be defined within a few nanometers, standard techniques have not provided sufficient resolution to describe the location of the buckyballs. As a result, much of the research on organic solar cells has been a trial and error process. Neutrons happen to interact with the polymer and the buckyball derivative very differently, leading to a sharp contrast.

"Our goal is more effective research on photovoltaic devices," says researcher Jon Kiel of the University of Delaware. "Using this technique, we have confirmed that particles are not distributed in the ideal way and have shown how to evaluate the distribution in new materials."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. W. Kiel, M. E. Mackay, B. J. Kirby, B. B. Maranville, C. F. Majkrzak. Phase-sensitive neutron reflectometry measurements applied in the study of photovoltaic films. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 2010; 133 (7): 074902 DOI: 10.1063/1.3471583

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics. "Finding a buckyball in a photovoltaic cell." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100928161008.htm>.
American Institute of Physics. (2010, October 1). Finding a buckyball in a photovoltaic cell. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100928161008.htm
American Institute of Physics. "Finding a buckyball in a photovoltaic cell." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100928161008.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 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