EECS faculty members Jing Kong, ITT Career Development Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and principal investigator in the Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) and the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) and Vladimir Bulovic, Professor of Electrical Engineering, MacVicar Fellow and principal investigator in MTL and RLE, have reported a new way to apply graphene electrodes to organic solar cells--bringing the possible wide spread use of carbon-based solar cells much closer to reality. The team has reported this work in the Dec. 17 online edition of Nanotechnology.
As reported by the MIT News Office (Jan. 6, 2010), the key to this successful breakthrough using graphene is a doping technique to apply the transparent but water insolvent graphene single layer material to the solar cell. In addition, the doping (introducing impurities to the organic cell) also increased the conductivity.
In discussing practical application, Jing Kong noted to the MIT News Office that because of their transparency, [the newly graphene doped cells] could be applied directly to windows without blocking the view, and they could be applied to irregular wall or rooftop surfaces. In addition, they could be stacked on top of other solar panels, increasing the amount of power generated from a given area. And they could even be folded or rolled up for easy transportation.
MIT News Office, Jan. 6, 2010, David Chandler, news staff: "Graphene electrodes for organic solar cells - Researchers identify technique that could make a new kind of solar photovoltaic panel practical"
Nanotechnology, Hyesung Park et al 2010 Nanotechnology 21 505204: "Doped graphene electrodes for organic solar cells"