Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tiny gold particles boost organic solar cell efficiency: Plasmonic technique helps enhance power conversion by up to 20 percent

Date:
August 16, 2011
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
Researchers have demonstrated how they inserted a gold nanoparticle layer between two subcells to combine the tandem cell strategy with the plasmonic effect -- a process that concentrates light via scattering from nanoparticles. As a result, a 20 percent improvement of power conversion efficiency has been attained by the light concentration of gold nanoparticles.

In the world of solar energy, organic photovoltaic solar cells have a wide range of potential applications, but they are still considered an upstart. While these carbon-based cells, which use organic polymers or small molecules as semiconductors, are much thinner and less expensive to produce than conventional solar cells made with inorganic silicon wafers, they still lag behind in their ability to efficiently convert sunlight into electricity.

Related Articles


Now, UCLA researchers and their colleagues from China and Japan have shown that by incorporating gold nanoparticles into these organic photovoltaics -- taking advantage of the plasmonic effect, by which metal helps to enhance the absorption of sunlight -- they can significantly improve the cells' power conversion.

In a paper recently published in ACS Nano, the team of researchers, led by Yang Yang, a professor of materials science and engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and director of the Nano Renewable Energy Center at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute, demonstrate how they sandwiched a layer of gold nanoparticles between two light-absorbing subcells in a tandem polymer solar cell in order to harvest a greater fraction of the solar spectrum.

They found that by employing the interconnecting gold-nanoparticle layer, they were able to enhance power conversion by as much as 20 percent. The gold nanoparticles create a strong electromagnetic field inside the thin organic photovoltaic layers by a plasmonic effect, which concentrates light so that much more of it can be absorbed by the subcells.

The team is the first to report a plasmonic-enhanced polymer tandem solar cell, having overcome the difficulties involved in incorporating metal nanostructures into the overall device structure.

"We have successfully demonstrated a highly efficient plasmonic polymer tandem solar cell by simply incorporating gold nanoparticles layer between two subcells," Yang said. "The plasmonic effect happening in the middle of the interconnecting layer can enhance both the top and bottom subcells simultaneously -- a 'sweet spot' -- leading to an improvement in the power conversion efficiency of the tandem solar cell from 5.22 percent to 6.24 percent. The enhancement ratio is as high as 20 percent."

The research team included Xing Wang Zhang from the Key Lab of Semiconductor Materials Science at the Institute of Semiconductors at Beijing's Chinese Academy of Science and Ziruo Hong from the Graduate School of Science and Engineering at Japan's Yamagata University.

Experimental and theoretical results demonstrate that the enhancement effect was attained from local near-field enhancement of the gold nanoparticles. The results show that the plasmonic effect has great potential for the future development of polymer solar cells. The team's proposed interlayer structures as an open platform can be applied to various polymer materials, opening up opportunities for highly efficient, multi-stacked tandem solar cells.

The research was financially supported by grants from the U.S. Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation.

The team also included Jun Yang, Jingbi You, Chun-Chao Chen, and Wan-Ching Hsu of the UCLA Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the California NanoSystems Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. The original article was written by Jennifer Marcus. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jun Yang, Jingbi You, Chun-Chao Chen, Wan-Ching Hsu, Hai-ren Tan, Xing Wang Zhang, Ziruo Hong, Yang Yang. Plasmonic Polymer Tandem Solar Cell. ACS Nano, 2011; 110718133857056 DOI: 10.1021/nn202144b

Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Tiny gold particles boost organic solar cell efficiency: Plasmonic technique helps enhance power conversion by up to 20 percent." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110816162311.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2011, August 16). Tiny gold particles boost organic solar cell efficiency: Plasmonic technique helps enhance power conversion by up to 20 percent. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110816162311.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Tiny gold particles boost organic solar cell efficiency: Plasmonic technique helps enhance power conversion by up to 20 percent." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110816162311.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Russian Pilot Recalls Successful Balloon Flight

Russian Pilot Recalls Successful Balloon Flight

AP (Feb. 1, 2015) American Troy Bradley and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev landed a helium-filled balloon four miles offshore in Baja California Sur. (Feb. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Glasses Augment Reality to Help Visually Impaired

Smart Glasses Augment Reality to Help Visually Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 1, 2015) New augmented reality smart glasses developed by researchers at Oxford University can help people with visual impairments improve their vision by providing depth-based feedback, allowing users to "see" better. Joel Flynn reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madrid’s LED Bulbs Are Street Lights That Save

Madrid’s LED Bulbs Are Street Lights That Save

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 1, 2015) Madrid swaps its street light system with LED technology in the largest urban street lighting replacement plan in the world. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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