- About Us
- Career Center
- Nano-Social Network
- Nano Consulting
- My Account
Engineers and scientists from the University of Sheffield have pioneered a new technique to analyse PCBM, a material used in polymer photovoltaic cells, obtaining details of the structure of the material which will be vital to improving the cell's efficiency. The findings are published in Applied Physics Letters.
Working with the ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source at the Science and Technology Facilities Council Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the researchers are the first to use a cutting-edge neutron scattering technique called SERGIS to analyse PCBM. The technique - still very much in development - has so far only been tested on samples with well-known, regular structures, such as diffraction gratings.
The experiment focused on crystallites of PCBM which were on the surface of a thin film of the solar cell material as the researchers could then verify their findings using other analysis techniques, such as atomic force microscopy. But they believe the technique could in future be used to analyse the material's structure deep inside the active layers of a solar cell. This will enable them to understand how different fabrication methods impact on the cell's structure, and therefore its efficiency.
Dr Alan Dunbar from Sheffield's Faculty of Engineering explains: "The SERGIS technique uses polarised neutrons which are bounced off the sample being tested. Where the resulting neutrons end up and how their polarisation has changed tells us information about the structure within our samples. The advantage of this type of technique is that because neutrons only interact weakly with the sample we can probe much deeper where many microscopy techniques cannot see."
"This is the first time the technique has been used to look at this material which is of real interest to science. It enabled us to map the size of the PCBM crystallites and the distance between them, both properties which are key to improving efficiency."
Research into photovoltaics is one of many areas of energy research conducted at the University of Sheffield, including wind power, nuclear power, biofuels, district heating and carbon capture.
SERGIS - which stands for neutron spin echo resolved grazing incidence scattering - can only be conducted in a few places worldwide, among them the ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source in Oxfordshire.
For more information, please click here
Copyright © University of SheffieldIf 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.
|Related News Press|
News and information
Novel capping strategy improves stability of perovskite nanocrystals: Study addresses instability issues with organometal-halide perovskites, a promising class of materials for solar cells, LEDs, and other applications June 13th, 2016
Nanometrics Reports Second Quarter 2016 Financial Results July 26th, 2016
The NanoWizard® AFM from JPK is applied for interdisciplinary research at the University of South Australia for applications including smart wound healing and how plants can protect themselves from toxins July 26th, 2016
The future of perovskite solar cells has just got brighter -- come rain or shine: Korean researchers at POSTECH have succeeded in developing high-efficiency perovskite solar cells that retain excellent performance over two months in a very humid condition July 21st, 2016
Nano-shells deliver molecules that tell bone to repair itself January 16th, 2016