Tech Developing Efficient Organic Solar Cell
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Researchers use pentacene to develop next-generation solar power
Atlanta (December 13,
2004) — As the price of energy continues to
rise, businesses are looking to renewable energy for
cheaper sources of power. Making electricity from
the most plentiful of these sources - the sun -can
be expensive due to the high price of producing traditional
silicon-based solar cells. Enter organic solar cells.
Made from cheaper materials, their flexibility and
feather-weight construction promise to open up new
markets for solar energy, potentially powering everything
from Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags to
iPods and laptop computers.
“We’ve demonstrated that using a crystalline
organic film, pentacene, is a promising new approach
to developing organic solar cells,” said Bernard
Kippelen, professor in the Center for Organic Photonics
and Electronics and the School of Electrical and Computer
Engineering at Georgia Tech. “In our paper,
we show that we’ve been able to convert solar
energy into electricity with 2.7 percent efficiency.
Since then, we’ve been able to demonstrate power
conversion efficiencies of 3.4 percent and believe
that we should reach 5 percent in the near future.”
Once fully developed, organic solar cells could revolutionize
the power industry. Their flexibility and minimal
weight will allow them to be placed on almost anything
from tents that would provide power to those inside,
to clothing that would power personal electronic devices.
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation,
the Office of Naval Research and the National Renewable
The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the nation's premiere research universities. Ranked among U.S. News & World Report's top 10 public universities, Georgia Tech educates more than 16,000 students every year through its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech maintains a diverse campus and is among the nation's top producers of women and African-American engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute. During the 2003-2004 academic year, Georgia Tech reached $341.9 million in new research award funding.