Physicists Develop New Significantly More Efficient Solar Cell

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Physicists at Paderborn University have actually boosted solar battery performance substantially utilizing tetracene, a natural product, based upon intricate computer system simulations. They found that problems at the tetracene-silicon user interface increase energy transfer, assuring a brand-new solar battery style with considerably enhanced efficiency.

Physicists at Paderborn University have actually utilized intricate computer system simulations to develop an unique solar battery style that boasts considerably greater performance than existing alternatives. The improvement in efficiency is credited to a slim finish of a natural substance called tetracene. The outcomes have actually just recently been released in the popular journal < period class ="glossaryLink" aria-describedby ="tt" data-cmtooltip ="<div class=glossaryItemTitle>Physical Review Letters</div><div class=glossaryItemBody>Physical Review Letters (PRL) is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the American Physical Society. It is one of the most prestigious and influential journals in physics, with a high impact factor and a reputation for publishing groundbreaking research in all areas of physics, from particle physics to condensed matter physics and beyond. PRL is known for its rigorous standards and short article format, with a maximum length of four pages, making it an important venue for rapid communication of new findings and ideas in the physics community.</div>" data-gt-translate-attributes="[{"attribute":"data-cmtooltip", "format":"html"}]" tabindex ="0" function ="link" >PhysicalReviewLetters

“The annual energy of solar radiation on Earth amounts to over one trillion kilowatt-hours and thus exceeds the global energy demand by more than 5000 times. Photovoltaics, i.e. the generation of electricity from sunlight, therefore offers a large and still largely untapped potential for the supply of clean and renewable energy. Silicon solar cells used for this purpose currently dominate the market, but have efficiency limits,” describesProfDrWolfGero Schmidt, physicist andDean of theFaculty ofNaturalSciences at(************************************************************************************************************* )UniversityOne factor for this is that a few of the energy from short-wave radiation is not transformed into electrical power, however into undesirable heat.

Uwe Gerstmann, Marvin Krenz and Wolf Gero Schmidt

(From delegated right)The authorsProfDrUweGerstmann,DrMarvinKrenz andProfDrWolfGero Schmidt with their poster on energy transportation in the solar battery. Credit:PaderbornUniversity, BesimMazhiqi

Schmidt describes:“In order to increase the efficiency, the silicon solar cell can be provided with an organic layer, for example, made from the semiconductor tetracene. Short-wave light is absorbed in this layer and converted into high-energy electronic excitations, so-called excitons. These excitons decay in the tetracene into two low-energy excitations. If these excitations can be successfully transferred to the silicon solar cell, they can be efficiently converted into electricity and increase the overall yield of usable energy.”

Decisive development for quick energy transfer

The excitation transfer of tetracene into silicon is being examined by Schmidt’s group utilizing intricate computer system simulations at the Paderborn Center for Parallel Computing (PC2), the university’s high-performance computing center. A definitive development has actually now been attained: in a joint research study withDr Marvin Krenz andProf Dr. Uwe Gerstmann, both likewise from Paderborn University, the researchers have actually revealed that unique problems in the kind of unsaturated chemical bonds at the user interface in between the tetracene movie and the solar battery drastically speed up the exciton transfer. Schmidt: “Such defects occur during the desorption of hydrogen and cause electronic interface states with fluctuating energy. These fluctuations transport the electronic excitations from the tetracene into the silicon like a lift.”

Such “defects” in solar batteries are really connected with energy losses. This makes the outcomes of the trio of physicists even more impressive: “In the case of the silicon tetracene interface, the defects are essential for the rapid energy transfer. The results of our computer simulations are truly surprising. They also provide precise indications for the design of a new type of solar cell with significantly increased efficiency,” the physicist states.

Reference: “Defect-Assisted Exciton Transfer across the Tetracene-Si(111):H Interface” by Marvin Krenz, Uwe Gerstmann and Wolf Gero Schmidt, 16 February 2024, Physical Review Letters
DOI: 10.1103/ PhysRevLett.132076201