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  • New Solar Material Seeks to Replace Silicon
May 2012
TURKU, Finland, May 15, 2012 — Silicon solar cells could be replaced by flexible, lightweight and inexpensive dyes, if scientists in Finland achieve their goal.

Jongyun Moon and colleagues at the University of Turku have developed dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) and believe that they could replace silicon-based cells, because they are cheaper and easier to manufacture. This would provide effective solar energy harvesting technologies to developing countries that cannot rely on government subsidies for funding.

When sunlight shines on a layer of white pigment titanium oxide on a DSC, the solar energy displaces electrons from a layer beneath the coating, causing a flow of charge within the DSC and creating an electric current.

DSCs are less fragile than silicon solar cells and do not need to be manufactured in a cleanroom; however, they are not as efficient, so much development work remains to be done before DSCs can dethrone silicon.

The research was published this month in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management.

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