An advance in solar technology means portable electronic devices such as e-book readers could soon be re-charged on the move in low light levels and partial shading. Scientists from the University of Warwick, in collaboration with spin-out company Molecular Solar, have created an organic solar cell that generates a sufficiently high voltage to recharge a lithium-ion battery directly, without the need to connect multiple individual cells in series. Modules of these high voltage cells perform well in different light conditions including partial shade making them well matched to consumer electronic devices such as e-book readers, cameras and some mobile phones.
Organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells, the so-called 'third generation' of solar technology, offer exciting opportunities thanks to the potential for very cheap manufacture, lightweight, low profile photovoltaics compatible with flexible substrates, which means they are ideally matched to portable electronic device applications.
This new OPV technology is a significant breakthrough as scientists have addressed the problem of low out-put voltage when the module is in low light levels or partial shading taking an important step towards rolling out cheap OPV cells in low-power portable electronics.
The scientists, from the University's Department of Chemistry, have demonstrated a cell with an open circuit voltage of over 7V which delivers maximum power at more than the 4.2V needed to power a standard lithium ion battery.
This is the first time these features have been demonstrated using ultra high voltage OPV cells.
Professor Tim Jones, one of the lead researchers at University of Warwick, along with Dr Ross Hatton and Professor Mike Shipman, said:
"We have taken a big step towards cheap-to-make solar chargers which can top up your devices whenever they are being used – both indoors and out.
"A small light-weight solar charger no bigger than a credit card can be fitted to the battery of an e-book reader for example, and constantly top it up with power while you are reading it - even if you are sitting inside on the sofa.
"Alternatively, this kind of solar cell could be ideal for outdoor use as it is light-weight and portable.
"The next step is to extend this technology outside the laboratory to make cheap OPV chargers available on a commercial scale through Molecular Solar."
The research is detailed in the paper Ultra-high voltage
multijunction organic solar cells for low-power electronic applications and was published in the journal Advanced Energy Materials. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aenm.201200560
University of Warwick: http://www.warwick.ac.uk
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Kate Brooks' aerial photos show the beauty of Africa's elephants, and the catastrophic extinction they face at the hands of poachers.
It didn't feel like it in much of the U.S., but August set a record worldwide
More endangered sockeye salmon have made the 900-mile journey from the Pacific Ocean to central Idaho's high-elevation Redfish Lake this fall than in any previous year going back nearly six decades
With rising seas, cities like Satellite Beach, Fla., are debating options: defend the shoreline to avoid destruction, or retreat, withdrawing homes and businesses from the water's edge.
The extent of Antarctica's sea ice has hit yet another record high, and counter-intuitively global warming is responsible
The largest consumer of coal in the world has announced radical restrictions on coal imports and its domestic transport and use
An otherworldly photograph of a lagoon reflecting the swirls of the aurora has taken the top prize in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday gave final approval to new genetically modified corn and soybeans developed by Dow AgroSciences that, while heavily criticized by environmentalists and some farmers, are portrayed by Dow as an answer to weed resistance problems that limit crop production.
With new genetic insights, researchers aim to fight a devastating coffee fungus
Hedgehogs are more thinly spread in the UK than previously believed, a study using ink pads to record their paw prints reveals.