Researchers at UC Santa Barbara and eight other institutions have identified a key mechanism responsible for the lower efficiencies of organic solar cells and have demonstrated a way this hurdle might be overcome. Their results, reported in the journal Nature, suggest the possibility of developing organic solar cells with efficiencies comparable to silicon-based cells.
The team identified a pathway in organic solar cells where current is lost, which makes them less efficient than silicon-based cells at converting sunlight into electricity. They discovered a way to supress this by manipulating molecules inside the solar cell to prevent an undesirable state leading to lost current. “It is an extensive work that took a long time to collect data,” said Thuc-Quyen Nguyen, a professor at UC Santa Barbara and one of the study’s corresponding authors. Reviews and revisions alone took a year and half, she added.