Research: Self-repairing solar cells


It is hoped the findings, which saw a novel set of self-assembling molecules that can turn sunlight into electricity being repeatedly broken down and reassembled quickly, will help to extend the lifetimes of the cells.

Michael Strano, Charles and Hilda Roddey Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT, who developed the research along with his team of graduate students and researchers, said that that in devising novel systems for generating electricity from light, researchers don’t often study how the systems change over time.

He said that for conventional silicon-based photovoltaic cells, there is little degradation, but with many new systems being developed – either for lower cost, higher efficiency, flexibility or other improved characteristics – the degradation can be very significant. “Often people see, over 60 hours, the efficiency falling to 10 percent of what you initially saw,” he explained.?

The individual reactions of these new molecular structures in converting sunlight are about 40 percent efficient, he continued, or about double the efficiency of today’s best solar cells. Theoretically, the efficiency of the structures could be close to 100 percent, he added. But in the initial work, the concentration of the structures in the solution was reportedly low, so the overall efficiency of the device – the amount of electricity produced for a given surface area – was very low. The researchers have said they are working now to find ways to greatly increase the concentration.

Highly destructive


Related content

Elsewhere on pv magazine...

Leave a Reply

Please be mindful of our community standards.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.

Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.

You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.

Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.