A breakthrough from the researchers at Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and at Linköping University has paved way for a high-efficient and cost-effective polymer solar cells that are much more reliable compared to what we have at present. The research aims at focusing the development of polymer solar cells without having to use the expensive and unstable fullerene, a carbon allotrope.

solar cells developed without fullerene

Earlier scientists were dependant on fullerenes’ high efficiency when added to polymer solar cells to split the charge carriers, but however there was one major issue with using fullerene – it is found to get highly unstable, forming big crystals at high temperatures, and this behaviour was worrisome. Presently a team of chemists at the CAS, led by Professor Jianhui Hou, has achieved a revolutionary polymer cell that contains no fullerenes. This is a world record, achieved by developing a new combination of a small molecule called ITIC with the polymer called PBDB-T. This combination helps transform sun’s energy with an efficiency of 11%, an unheard value till now for solar cells without fullerenes.

Feng Gao and his collaborators Olle Inganäs and Deping Qian at Linköping University have studied the loss spectroscopy of photovoltage (Voc), a component of high importance for solar cells. They’ve even suggested new ideas that could better the device’s performance and efficiency. Feng claims that high-efficiency yet thermally stable solar cells could be produced without having to go with fullerene. They’re planning to commercialize this innovation soon after their paper is printed.

Their research has been published in the latest issue of the journal Advanced Materials.