Industry News

The internal structure of polymer materials affects solar cell efficiency

2018-07-30
According to EurekAlert!, a scientific news sharing platform of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an international team of materials scientists from France, Russia and Kazakhstan discovered that the internal structure of polymers is well-ordered and can make organic solar cells. The efficiency has been greatly improved. This latest study was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

Solar panels and batteries are the two most promising methods of power generation in the future. As of 2017, solar panels installed worldwide have a total power generation of 400 GW. The rapid development of the solar industry relies mainly on the continuous reduction of battery prices and the continuous improvement of its efficiency.

Introducing new materials is one way to improve solar systems. In solar panels, the basic components required to convert light energy into electrical energy are photovoltaic cells or solar cells, which are primarily composed of polycrystalline silicon, a high purity polycrystalline form of silicon. It is understood that scientists are busy looking for alternative materials for polysilicon, and organic polymer materials with photovoltaic properties are among the main candidates.

Researchers say adding fluorine atoms to polymers can increase the efficiency of solar cells. This method, known as fluorination, has been shown to enhance polymer photovoltaic performance, but the principles are less well known. The new study clarifies the positive impact of fluorination on battery efficiency by changing the internal structure of the material.

After many experiments, the research team selected organic polymer materials with better photovoltaic properties and further studied their microstructure. After X-ray analysis, it was found that the internal structure of the polymer was more ordered. At the same time, its molecular charge carriers have better fluidity, allowing the material to conduct electricity better. For solar cells, this is definitely a huge advantage.

One of the researchers, Professor Dimitri Ivanov, head of the Functional Organic Composites Laboratory at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and the director of the French National Center for Scientific Research, said: "The challenge of this research is to choose molecules that improve battery efficiency. Energy levels and the development of supramolecular structures that enable charge transport to electrodes."