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New Type of Much More Stable Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Discovered

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Chinese and Swiss researchers from the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have discovered a new prototype of dye-sensitized solar cells.

There have already been invented dye-based solar cells, and their efficiency is as high as 75%, but the inorganic material that the dye is made of is instable in outside functioning conditions, and possibly harmful to the environment.

The solar cells that the scientists have developed are made of four parts:

1. a semiconductor – clasically, they use silicon.

2. an electrolyte – the formula is not specified, but you can imagine an electrolyte as a salt-water mix (it makes water conduct electricity)

3. a dye layer (iodide) – this is the most interesting part of the discovery, being the innovation of the Chinese scientists.

4. They also used a nano-material to stabilize the dye molecules.

Their cells’ efficiency is lower than the current dye-sensitized solar cells’ discovered, which reaches 11%, while theirs is only 8.2%.

“The performance of our solar cell now matches that of cells that use volatile solvents,” says Peng Wang, a researcher in the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry and the study’s corresponding scientist, to Physorg.com. “This is an important step toward the production of large-scale outdoor dye-sensitized solar cells.”

It’s interesting to see how things evolve pretty fast in the area of solar panels. It seems like people give credit to this power source more than to any other (wind, water, etc), because it IS the primary source from which all the others emerged. But there’s also a sad part in all of this: the economy. If we somehow succeed in making the solutions cheaply available to everyone, we can truly say that we did something for the environment, not only brag about it.

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