Researchers in Switzerland have developed dye-sensitized solar cells that have reached the highest efficiencies to date among a new generation of thin film photovoltaic devices that show promise as a low-cost energy source.
The new cells, composed of an ultrathin film of nano-sized semiconductor crystals such as titanium dioxide, have been shown in laboratory studies to produce efficiencies of 11 percent.
By comparison, most new solar cells have efficiencies between 4 percent and 5 percent, according to Michael Graetzel, Ph.D., a chemist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne.
Graetzel's cells, which can be engineered into inexpensive, flexible sheets, could be used as coatings on glass windows to supply electric power to homes and businesses or as coatings on tents to supply power for soldiers in the field.
The cells could be used in consumer applications within two to three years, the researcher says.
Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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