Paintable Solar Cells
Monday, August 24 2009
Brian Korgel, a University of Texas at Austin chemical engineer, is hoping to cut costs to one-tenth of their current price by replacing the standard manufacturing process for solar cells – gas-phase deposition in a vacuum chamber - which requires high temperatures and is relatively expensive.
Korgel and his team have been working on the solar cell–manufacturing process for the past two years. He is collaborating with professors Al Bard and Paul Barbara, of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and professor Ananth Dodabalapur of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.
“You’d have to paint the light-absorbing material and a few other layers as well,” Korgel said. “This is one step in the direction towards paintable solar cells.” Korgel uses the light-absorbing nanomaterials, which are 10,000 times thinner than a strand of hair, because their microscopic size allows for new physical properties that can help enable higher-efficiency devices.