New nano-technology development boosts conversion

Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has developed a new type of organic thin-film solar cell with an energy conversion efficiency of 4%, the world’s highest level achieved by solar cells, it has been reported.

AIST says the technology paves the way for developing plastic film solar cells that cost significantly less than amorphous silicon solar cells.

Within the solar cell, a so-called PN junction converts light into electricity but conventional organic thin-film solar cells have an energy conversion efficiency of about 1%. The breakthrough came about by introducing a nano-structure layer into the PN junction, in part using C60 fullerenes as a semiconductor.