Stanford Creates Solar Cell Made Entirely of Carbon
November 5, 2012 6:12 AM
comment(s) - last by
All-carbon solar cell
(Source: Stanford University)
Scientists just need to work on its efficiency
Photovolatic devices could get a huge boost from a
made entirely of carbon.
Stanford University researchers, led by Professor of Chemical Engineering Zhenan Bao, have developed an all-carbon solar cell. It could prove to be cheaper and more flexible than traditional silicon solar cells.
Traditional silicon solar cells are not only rigid, but they require costly tools and machines in order to be manufactured. Even in thin film solar cells used today have electrodes made of indium tin oxide, which are scarce and becoming increasingly expensive.
The Stanford team wanted to address these issues and create a solar cell that requires a less expensive manufacturing process, less rare materials and can be used flexibly. The answer was carbon.
"Carbon has the potential to deliver high performance at a low cost," said Bao. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a working solar cell that has all of the components made of carbon. This study builds on previous work done in our lab."
The all-carbon solar cell has a photoactive layer for absorbing sunlight in between two electrodes. The photoactive layer is made of
carbon nanotubes and Buckyballs
(ball-shaped carbon molecules that are just one nanometer in diameter). The electrodes, instead of silver and indium tin oxide, are made of graphene (sheets of carbon) and single-walled carbon nanotubes. These carbon nanotubes, which are 10,000 times narrower than a single human hair, have strong light absorption and electrical conductivity properties.
As for manufacturing, the all-carbon solar cell can be made completely with easy coating methods that don't require expensive tools or a lot of steps.
The big downfall to the all-carbon solar cell is that it isn't nearly as efficient as traditional solar cells. It typically absorbs near-infrared wavelengths, offering an efficiency of less than 1 percent compared to commercial solar cells today.
To increase efficiency, the Stanford team is looking into a few different options. One possibility is making the layers smooth for efficient stacking of nanomaterials. Another possibility is using carbon nanomaterials that can absorb more than just one type of wavelength.
Stanford claims this is the first all-carbon solar cell ever made, but
MIT researchers recently developed an all-carbon Buckyball and nanotube solar cell
. Their research was reported in June of this year.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: A Solar Cell Made of "Evil" Carbon?
11/5/2012 12:22:20 PM
On the contrary, now we can put all that bad carbon to good use! :-)
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
Sharp Debuts Rimless, Semi-transparent Solar Cells for Builders
September 26, 2012, 2:42 PM
MIT Builds All-Carbon Buckyball and Nanotube Solar Cell
June 22, 2012, 11:10 PM
Former Android OS Chief Heading New Google Robotics Group
December 4, 2013, 1:20 PM
Dow Chemical to NYC City Council: You Don't Even Know What Styrofoam is!
December 2, 2013, 8:30 PM
Retired Israel Air Force Commander: UAVs Need to Dogfight Before Replacing Fighter Pilots
November 27, 2013, 3:59 PM
Eating High-Fat Diet During Puberty May Increase Speed of Breast Cancer Development
November 27, 2013, 2:15 PM
Mayor Bloomberg Says No More Polystyrene Foam Dishes in NYC, Says it Can Cause Cancer
November 25, 2013, 11:51 AM
NASA Rejects Billionaire's Mission to Mars
November 22, 2013, 12:31 PM
Most Popular Articles
NSA Snares Americans' Porn Viewing Histories in Effort to Target Muslims
December 1, 2013, 9:00 PM
Coalition of 20+ Tech Firms Backs MRAM as Potential DRAM, NAND Replacement
November 29, 2013, 11:59 PM
Fed Up With Cheating OEMs, Microsoft Trolls Chromebooks in New Ad
November 27, 2013, 4:09 PM
Xbox? PCs? Mobile? Microsoft Wants One Windows to Rule Them All
November 25, 2013, 8:21 PM
Seattle Restaurant Bans Google Glass, Tells Wearers to "Just shut up and get out"
November 27, 2013, 10:27 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is The Period Becoming an Expression of Anger?
Nov 26, 2013, 2:02 PM
NSA and Congress -- You Will Never Kill the Constitution, It's an Idea
Nov 10, 2013, 2:00 PM
AT&T Explores $100B+ USD Deal to Acquire Vodafone's European Operations
Nov 4, 2013, 7:34 AM
U.S. Army Developing Cyber, Electronic War Arsenal
Oct 31, 2013, 4:49 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2013 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information