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Mar 31st, 2014
An optimum to find between size and purity of domains in polymer-based solar cells
Polymer-based solar cells are intended to have two domains, consisting of an electron acceptor and an electron donor material.
Research from North Carolina State University reveals that solar cell efficiency is based upon a delicate balance between the size and purity of the interior layers, or domains.These findings may lead to better designs and improved performance in organic solar cells.
Solar cell efficiency is based upon several factors: the ease with which excitons (the energy particles created by solar cells when light is absorbed) can travel to the interface of the donor and acceptor domains while retaining as much of the light’s energy as possible; and, once the charges are separated from the excitons, how efficiently separated charges travel to the device electrodes for collection.
“Picture the solar cell’s two domain materials as cake batter with one vanilla layer and one chocolate layer,” Ade says. “Initially, the interfacial area – where the layers touch – is as large as your cake pan. As you mix the layers by pulling a fork though the batter to make swirls, more of the vanilla touches the chocolate and you create even more interfacial area. In a solar cell, more interfacial area serves to increase performance by increasing charge separation".
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