Organic solar cells receive a boost

Published in Physics World, 15 Oct 2010

Physicists in the US have shown that organic semiconductors may be just as promising as their inorganic counterparts in solar cells. The researchers’ discovery – that bound electron–hole pairs can travel a thousand times farther in organic semiconductors than previously observed – suggests that organic solar cells could one day be made efficient, cheap and in high volume.

Today, commercial solar cells are made of inorganic semiconductors such as silicon. When a photon in the visible or near-infrared part of the light spectrum strikes the surface of the cell, it generates an electron–hole pair, which quickly disassociates. It is effectively the separation of such electrons and holes in the semiconductor that creates a voltage, so that a current can flow. […]

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