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Scientists make advancements with groundbreaking binary organic solar cell technology: 'Highly efficient and stable'

The scientists are improving the technology while also making the cells easier to place.

The scientists are improving the technology while also making the cells easier to place.

Photo Credit: iStock

Scientists are continuing to make advancements in solar energy technology, potentially ushering us into a new age of clean, renewable energy.

At the Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a group of researchers has just developed a record-setting binary organic solar cell with a conversion efficiency of up to 19.7%. TechXplore reported their findings.

A binary organic solar cell is a type of photovoltaic (solar) technology that uses conductive organic polymers or small organic molecules to absorb light.

Because these types of solar cells are extremely thin, flexible, and durable, many industry experts believe them to be the future of solar energy. They could be attached to cars, windows, phones, and more — whereas traditional solar cells are large and bulky, needing to be placed on rooftops or in large solar arrays. 

The downside of binary organic solar cells is that they are less efficient — absorbing less light — and also don't last as long as traditional solar panels.

That's where the breakthrough from the Chinese Academy of Sciences researchers comes in. The cells developed by those scientists are reportedly "highly efficient and stable," and able to absorb more light than any previous organic solar cells.

"Compared with conventional [ones]," the new organic solar cells "exhibited higher transmittance, deeper work function, and lower surface energy, thus realizing enhanced hole extraction, increased hole mobility, decreased interface resistance, and reduced carrier recombination," TechXplore wrote.

A recent study from researchers at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge and the Amsterdam-based AMOLF found that solar energy adoption could be significantly improved worldwide by not just improving the underlying technology, but also by making solar panels that can fit in more different types of environments by flexing, folding, and being partially transparent. 

By creating flexible solar cells with a higher efficiency, the Chinese Academy of Sciences is doing both — improving the technology while also making the cells easier to place.

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