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Graphene-based solar cell hits record 15.6 percent efficiency

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January 14, 2014

Researchers are claiming a record efficiency of 15.6 percent for a new graphene-based sola...

Researchers are claiming a record efficiency of 15.6 percent for a new graphene-based solar cell (Image: Shutterstock)

In 2012, researchers from the University of Florida reported a record efficiency of 8.6 percent for a prototype solar cell consisting of a wafer of silicon coated with a layer of graphene doped with trifluoromethanesulfonyl-amide (TFSA). Now another team is claiming a new record efficiency of 15.6 percent for a graphene-based solar cell by ditching the silicon all together.

The prototype photovoltaic device, created by researchers from the Group of Photovoltaic and Optoelectronic Devices (DFO) at Spain's Universitat Jaume I in Castelló and Oxford University, uses a combination of titanium oxide and graphene as a charge collector and perovskite as a sunlight absorber.

As well as the impressive solar efficiency, the team says the device is manufactured at low temperatures, with the several layers that go into making it being processed at under 150° C (302° F) using a solution-based deposition technique. This not only means lower potential production costs, but also makes it possible for the technology to be used on flexible plastics.

The team's paper is published in the journal Nano Letters.

Source: Asociación RUVID (Spanish)

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
15 Comments

Solution-based? So does that mean we could finally see phone cases coated with the stuff straight from the factory?

Joel Detrow
15th January, 2014 @ 12:57 am PST

Or paint for your house?

James Tarquin Davis
15th January, 2014 @ 02:58 am PST

Graphene: what a better use for carbon in stead of burning it. Love this.

ridelo
15th January, 2014 @ 06:32 am PST

Perhaps one could spray it on a tent or camper and be able to charge things with it so they could be used at night? ie, solar powered lights or recharge ones phone or electronics? I think it has a lot of potential.

BigGoofyGuy
15th January, 2014 @ 06:52 am PST

Well now, that's impressive

Doyle Dowd
15th January, 2014 @ 08:30 am PST

@ ridelo

Actually, the quantity of carbon used for nano applications is ridiculously small.

But yes, burning coal must stop.

Bill McKibben's "Do the Math" campaign shows that another 565 gigatons of carbon emissions take us to a CO2 level that equates a still manageable (if unpleasant) temperature rise by 2 degrees C.

Unfortunately, industry has already identified reserves of 2,795 gigatons of carbon for exploration.

In other words, until we stop massive carbon emission we are quite literally cooked.

moreover
15th January, 2014 @ 08:43 am PST

This is good. Plenty of Carbon around. Time to find ways to use this material to our advantage.

Seth Miesters
15th January, 2014 @ 09:12 am PST

Impressive!! As soon as the cost of solar cells goes down, I'm going to cover the roof of the house and garage with solar power cells and figure out how to use all that power.

Grunchy
15th January, 2014 @ 02:59 pm PST

15.6% of how much of the visible spectrum?

Slowburn
15th January, 2014 @ 11:23 pm PST

I wonder how durable it is? If very durable I can imagine it being applied to streets and/or sidewalks to aid in powering street lights and free Wi-Fi. Painting buildings houses and cars for free energy is another no brainer.

MK23666
16th January, 2014 @ 04:44 am PST

Still, we are such primitives when it comes to the physics of capturing Solar, Wind, Wave, Hydro, Tidal, Geothermal, Geomagnetic, Biological, domestic, renewable, hence: perpetual energy, and so stupid about living within the confines of these. American the Wise . . . Will the Chinese Intelligentsia pool, so much wider now, so much deeper than ours, show us the way? Will their Thorium LFTR and nuclear discoveries beyond this technology reveal a new path for mankind? America, at the peak of 'Mature Capitalism" as Marx once predicted, and frozen on primitive, uninspired 'Enriched Uranium' processes, even with the end of Uranium in full sight, and locked on 22% efficient gasoline engined, rubber tired transportation, warring smaller countries for their Oil resources around the world, unable to switch to far better systems used by even China now, what does it matter to a nation of wastrels, excessive wilful over-consumers, psychopathic shoppers, even eating beyond the requirements for good health? Living in unnecessary McMansions? How will they revert to the reality of their forefathers? Seek realistic survival and truly happy lives? Even in face of their "Dumbing Down" and the moanings of the Great Corporate American Propaganda Whores ever in their ears?

Bruce Miller
16th January, 2014 @ 11:30 am PST

It would be nice to loose the silicon based cells as they inefficient and costly, I am hoping to see more details and test reports on these new cells.

can they be created for specific wave lengths ?,

can they handle high temperatures ?

Gavin Roe
16th January, 2014 @ 01:40 pm PST

At 150deg C processing may be cheaper, but it may come at the cost of less durability or less resistance to higher temperatures without some kind of treatment process developed to preserve it's properties.

GRich
16th January, 2014 @ 05:24 pm PST

@Bruce Miller

" Will the Chinese Intelligentsia pool, so much wider now, so much deeper than ours, show us the way? Will their Thorium LFTR and nuclear discoveries beyond this technology reveal a new path for mankind?

You read a useful post about cheap, efficient Graphene solar cells and used that to launch a polemic against Capitalism and a love letter to unnecessary poisonous Nuclear technology ?

The Chinese are choking to death on pollution, driven by greed.

Better solar cells and better Diesel engines, coupled with the brand-new process to turn algae straight into bio-diesel, will relieve the energy bottleneck without building any more of you beloved poisonous Nuclear plants, Thorium or not.

William Carr
19th January, 2014 @ 10:44 am PST

Peroskovite is a mineral structure. You will note that this one uses Pb and some rare earth metals. Now I know that whoever owns the minerals holds the fiscal ransom, not free energy really. The energy footprint would be very costly. What is the stability to environmental erosion ie releasing the Pb from the structure. Would you like to be working in the factory with Pb and where do we put the contaminated wastes from smelting to extract the chemicals. Send them to a Mars on a rocket?

Use less energy, your fair share is much less than what you currently consume.

analogue girl
26th January, 2014 @ 12:58 pm PST
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