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: So yet
11/5/2012 3:20:17 PM
No kidding what ever happened to fuel cells powering laptops using methanol and releasing only water? i was kinda looking forward to that.
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Cool Science Video: This is What a McDonald's Burger Looks Like in Your Stomach
April 7, 2015, 1:43 PM
Most Popular Articles
As iPad Sales Wane and Watch Flops, iPhone Saves Apple's Profit With Its Heroics
July 22, 2015, 6:13 PM
Editorial: Reddit Allows Itself to be Hijacked as a Hate Platform For Racist Bigots
July 21, 2015, 6:32 PM
Microsoft July 29 Windows 10 Launch: Freebies, Rollout, and What's Next
July 21, 2015, 2:40 PM
Mozilla and Facebook to Adobe: It's Time to Kill Flash
July 20, 2015, 6:30 PM
Google Scores Bizarre Court Win as Disgruntled Android Users' Lawyers Ruin Case
July 16, 2015, 5:58 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information