Researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor today announced they have made a scientific breakthrough that could be a game-changer for solar power.
The researchers have discovered a way to coax electrons to travel farther than was previously thought possible in the materials that are normally used for organic solar cells and other organic semiconductors. The discovery could pave the way for cheaper, available-to-all, solar power.
“For years, people had treated the poor conductivity of organics as an unavoidable fact, and this shows that’s not always the case,” says Stephen Forrest, Peter A. Franken Distinguished University Professor of Engineering and Paul G. Goebel Professor of Engineering at UM. Forrest was the lead researcher.
Most solar cells used today are made of inorganic material, however with the recent discovery of electron movement on organic materials, UM researchers say solar cells and semiconductors could be made with the less expensive, flexible carbon-based materials like plastic.
“This discovery essentially gives us a new knob to turn as we design organic solar cells and other organic semiconductor devices,” says Quinn Burlingame, a UM electrical engineering and computer science graduate researcher, and author on the study. “The possibility of long-range electron transport opens up a lot of new possibilities in device architecture.”
For more information on the study, click here.