Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > New molecular framework could lead to flexible solar cells

The Dichtel group in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology has developed a method to organize organic dyes into stacked, porous two-dimensional sheets. These materials may ultimately be incorporated into inexpensive, flexible solar cells. Courtesy Cornell University
The Dichtel group in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology has developed a method to organize organic dyes into stacked, porous two-dimensional sheets. These materials may ultimately be incorporated into inexpensive, flexible solar cells. Courtesy Cornell University

Abstract:
Team discovers simple process for building an organic molecular framework that could pave the way for the development of more economical, flexible and versatile solar cells

By Lauren Gold

New molecular framework could lead to flexible solar cells

Ithaca, NY | Posted on July 2nd, 2010

Think of solar cells, and you probably imagine the thick, heavy silicon panels on rooftops in sunny climates.

Those panels are effective, but they can also be expensive and unwieldy. In the search for a better alternative, a team led by William Dichtel, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology, has discovered a simple process for building an organic molecular framework that could pave the way for the development of more economical, flexible and versatile solar cells.

The discovery is reported in an article published online on June 20 by the journal Nature Chemistry.

Dichtel's strategy uses organic dye molecules assembled into a structure known as a covalent organic framework (COF). Organic materials have long been recognized as having potential to create thin, flexible and low-cost photovoltaic devices, but it has been proven difficult to organize their component molecules reliably into ordered structures likely to maximize device performance.

COFs, a class of materials first reported in 2005, offer a new way to address this long-range ordering problem; but until now, the known methods for creating them had significant limitations.

"We had to develop a completely new way of making the materials in general," Dichtel said. The strategy uses a simple acid catalyst and relatively stable molecules called protected catechols to assemble key organic molecules into a neatly ordered two-dimensional sheet. These sheets stack on top of one another to form a lattice that provides pathways for charge to move through the material.

The reaction is also reversible, allowing for errors in the process to be undone and corrected.

"The whole system is constantly forming wrong structures alongside the correct one," Dichtel said, "but the correct structure is the most stable, so eventually, the more perfect structures end up dominating." The result is a structure with high surface area that maintains its precise and predictable molecular ordering over large areas.

The researchers used X-ray diffraction to confirm the material's molecular structure and surface area measurements to determine its porosity.

At the core of the framework are molecules called phthalocyanines, a class of common industrial dyes used in products from blue jeans to ink pens.

Phthalocyanines are also closely related in structure to chlorophyll, the compound in plants that absorbs sunlight for photosynthesis. The compounds absorb almost the entire solar spectrum -- a rare property for a single organic material.

"For most organic materials used for electronics, there's a combination of some design to get the materials to perform well enough, and there's a little bit of an element of luck," Dichtel said. "We're trying to remove as much of that element of luck as we can."

The structure by itself is not a solar cell yet, but it is a model that will significantly broaden the scope of materials that can be used in COFs, Dichtel said. "We also hope to take advantage of their structural precision to answer fundamental scientific questions about moving electrons through organic materials."

Once the framework is assembled, the pores between the molecular latticework could potentially be filled with another organic material to form a light, flexible, highly efficient and easy-to-manufacture solar cell.

The next step is to begin testing ways of filling in the gaps with complementary molecules. "This is the very beginning of our work," he said.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Contact:
Blaine Friedlander
(607) 254-8093

Cornell Chronicle:
Lauren Gold
(607) 255-9736

Copyright © Cornell University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Iranian Researchers Present New Model to Strengthen Superconductivity at Higher Temperatures April 19th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce New Anti-Cancer Drug from Turmeric April 19th, 2014

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair April 18th, 2014

Possible Futures

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Surface Characteristics Influence Cellular Growth on Semiconductor Material March 12th, 2014

The "Tipping Point" February 12th, 2014

Academic/Education

Director Wally Pfister joins UC Berkeley neuroengineers to discuss the science behind ‘Transcendence’ April 7th, 2014

First annual science week highlights STEM pipeline and partnerships: UB, SUNY Buffalo State and ECC team up with the City of Buffalo and its schools for April 7-11 events April 3rd, 2014

Global 450 consortium announces new general manager of internal operations: TSMC’s Cheng-Chung Chien Receives Unanimous Support, Brings History of Innovation and Efficiency to Global Consortium of Companies Driving Industry Transition to 450mm Wafer Technology March 26th, 2014

NanoTecNexus to Host "Chemistry of Wine" Fundraiser in Support of STEM Education - Collaborations Key to Success - March 20th, 2014

Discoveries

Iranian Researchers Present New Model to Strengthen Superconductivity at Higher Temperatures April 19th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce New Anti-Cancer Drug from Turmeric April 19th, 2014

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair April 18th, 2014

Announcements

Iranian Researchers Present New Model to Strengthen Superconductivity at Higher Temperatures April 19th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce New Anti-Cancer Drug from Turmeric April 19th, 2014

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair April 18th, 2014

Energy

High-temperature plasmonics eyed for solar, computer innovation April 17th, 2014

Scientists Capture Ultrafast Snapshots of Light-Driven Superconductivity: X-rays reveal how rapidly vanishing 'charge stripes' may be behind laser-induced high-temperature superconductivity April 16th, 2014

Engineers develop new materials for hydrogen storage April 15th, 2014

A molecular approach to solar power: Switchable material could harness the power of the sun — even when it’s not shining April 15th, 2014

Solar/Photovoltaic

High-temperature plasmonics eyed for solar, computer innovation April 17th, 2014

A molecular approach to solar power: Switchable material could harness the power of the sun — even when it’s not shining April 15th, 2014

Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells: Photovoltaic solar-panel windows could be next for your house April 14th, 2014

Scientists open door to better solar cells, superconductors and hard-drives: Research enhances understanding of materials interfaces April 14th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE