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Research on a novel organic photovoltaic design presented by researchers at the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) at the University of Surrey has won first prize in the recently concluded UK NanoForum 2008, jointly organised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and UK Trade and Investment.
The research presented by Ms Li Wei Tan, on behalf of co-workers Dr Bonan Kang and Professor Ravi Silva, showed how a doubling of the solar cell performance can be obtained by using Teflon, a material commonly used in household frying pans, as a buffer layer for transparent conducting electrodes. The work has just been reported in Applied Physics Letters (reference below), a leading peer review journal in the research community, and promises a radical solution based on an insulating planarising organic thin films for future high performance solar cells. The work has attracted much industrial interest, and routes to exploit the technology are being developed within the ATI.
The third annual UK NanoForum held in London on 28 October 2008 brought together over 100 senior international delegates from more than 20 countries, together with the best of the UK's nanotechnology community. The event included keynote addresses, themed workshops, innovation awards and an exhibition showcasing more than 50 UK nanotechnology organisations. The focus was on trade, investment and collaborations, to provide a networking forum for industry, academia, venture capitalists, technology purchasers and those seeking R&D joint ventures.
Organic photovoltaics (OPV) is one of the fastest growing areas of research, as well as industrially active topics. The potential of harnessing energy from the solar spectrum inexpensively is key to solving one of the single-most important issues facing nations today. The prospect of a widely applicable cheap renewable energy solution is at the top of the list for all research communities. The work presented uses simple dipole mono-layers of Teflon to help extract charges created by the solar energy more efficiently than previously possible.
Ms Li Wei Tan was delighted with her award, which followed the success of the use of carbon nanotubes in organics to create hybrid organic solutions for use in OLED and OPV structures, which also won an award at the last International Conference on Materials for Advanced Technologies (ICMAT) held in Singapore.
Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI comments: "The ATI prides itself in conducting high quality research, with an applied flavour to it. The work conducted in the hybrid ‘inorganics-in-organics' programme is a result of research initially funded by EPSRC and The Carbon Trust. We hope to continue this work to provide suitable cheap alternatives to conventional devices based on hybrid organic lighting and solar cells. The power-house of the ATI research is the 70+ PhD projects we are associated with at any one time. We are very proud of the achievements of all our researchers."
Applied Physics Letters 93, 133302 (2008) - link.aip.org/link/?APPLAB/93/133302/1
About University of Surrey
The University of Surrey is one of the UK’s leading professional, scientific and technological universities with a world class research profile and a reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Ground-breaking research at the University is bringing direct benefit to all spheres of life – helping industry to maintain its competitive edge and creating improvements in the areas of health, medicine, space science, the environment, communications, defence and social policy. Programmes in science and technology have gained widespread recognition and it also boasts flourishing programmes in dance and music, social sciences, management and languages and law. In addition to the campus on 150 hectares just outside Guildford, Surrey, the University also owns and runs the Surrey Research Park, which provides facilities for 140 companies employing 2,700 staff.
The Sunday Times names Surrey as ‘The University for Jobs' which underlines the university’s growing reputation for providing high quality, relevant degrees.
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