"The way you design the active layer is completely different than what you do with silicon," echoed Marco Bernardi, a doctoral student at MIT. Working with Jeffrey Grossman in materials science, Bernardi also developed a carbon solar cell and published his work in ACS Nano in September.
Bernardi said he and his collaborators used a systematic approach to model, design and optimize the materials in the carbon cell. They are now looking into amorphous carbon, a cheaper material, and seeing how they can get that to make electricity. In addition, Bernardi said, the researchers want to show the cells can be stable for several thousand hours without being encapsulated while better understanding the fundamental physics.
Before a carbon solar cell makes it to a roof near you, "there's much more research that needs to be done," Bernardi said. "There's a long way to go for optimization."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500