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Plastic Solar Cells Gain Longevity

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EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada, June 22, 2010 — A team of researchers from the University of Alberta and the National Institute for Nanotechnology has extended the operating life of an unsealed plastic solar cell from mere hours to eight months.

The research group's development of an inexpensive, readily available plastic solar cell technology hit a wall because of a chemical leaching problem within the body of the prototype. A chemical coating on an electrode was unstable and migrated through the circuitry of the cell.

The team, led by chemistry researcher David Rider, developed a longer-lasting polymer coating for the electrode. Electrodes, which extract electricity from the cell, are key to solar energy technology.

Prior to the polymer coating breakthrough, the research team's plastic solar cell could operate at high capacity for only about 10 hours.
When Rider and his co-authors presented their paper to the journal Advanced Functional Materials, their plastic solar cell had performed at high capacity for 500 hours, but it kept on working for another seven months. The team says the unit eventually stopped working when it was damaged during transit between laboratories.

Collaborators included Jillian Buriak and Michael J. Brett.

For more information, visit:
Jun 2010
AmericasBasic Sciencechemical leechingDavid Riderenergygreen photonicsJillian BuriakMichael J. Brett RidernanoNational Institute for Nanotechnologyplastic solar cellspolymer electrode coatingResearch & Technologysolar energy technologyUniversity of Alberta

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