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KIST researchers develop material to enhance solar cell efficiency

Science 15:42 April 11, 2019

SEOUL, April 11 (Yonhap) -- Researchers at Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) said Thursday that they have developed a new macromolecular material that can enhance the efficiency of organic solar cells.

Organic solar panels are popular because they are not too expensive to produce and can be made large and flexible. They are, however, not overly efficient in turning sunlight into usable energy, and scientists from around the world are trying to find effective means to correct this shortcoming.

The achievement by a team led by Baek Kyung-youl at the state-run institute's Materials Achitecturing Research Center is centered on a composite material made using block copolymer and a carbon substance. This material, researchers said, is useful since it can replace the poly 3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene: poly styrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) in the hole transport layer of current generation organic solar panels.

Hole transport layers receive sunlight and transform this into a positive charge that is sent to the electrodes.

KIST researchers said that besides offering five times the conductivity of PEDOT:PSS, the material also has the benefit of being easily made.

"The development will contribute more to the efficiency of organic solar cells to make energy," Baek said.

The development has been published in the latest online edition of Composites Science and Technology, and the KIST team has patented the knowhow in South Korea and the United States.

KIST researchers develop material to enhance solar cell efficiency - 1


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