Generation of Solar Cell Science Merced CA

Washington University scientists have measured key processes which could be used in the next generation of solar cells. The work involves the spectroscopic analysis of oxidized multiporphyrin arrays and incontrovertibly proves one thing: these scientists must be really good at Scrabble.

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Generation of Solar Cell Science

Provided By:

The Next Generation of Solar Cell Science

Author: Tina Metcalf

Washington University scientists have measured key processes which could be used in the next generation of solar cells. The work involves the spectroscopic analysis of oxidized multiporphyrin arrays and incontrovertibly proves one thing: these scientists must be really good at Scrabble.

A porphyrin is an organically-based chemical. A "multiporphyrin array" is just a chain of these molecules strung together. It has been found that electrons can be passed down such chains when they're exposed to light, or in other words, sunlight in and electricity out. It turns out there's a big market for stuff like that. In fact, they found that the electrons have a transfer rate of 1.25 Gigahertz, meaning the electron can make over one billion transfers a second.

What does this mean to you? Not very much just yet. But this kind of advance in the basic science is what will make the next generation of solar technology possible. Some people ask what the point in this sort of work is - what's the bottom line? What do we get for our dollar? But if we always acted like that, humans would still be living in caves eating raw meat because it wasn't cost-effective for anyone to try rubbing sticks together. Or food-effective, actually, since that's the only currency we'd have.

Plus this type of research is covered under basic funding for science and education, meaning that there are no dollars dependent on a hard product. When an idea reaches the marketable stage is when that happens, with companies like MIT spinning off technology start-ups to commercialize the scientific breakthroughs. That's where the millions of dollars in capital have to be used, that's where the products that will revolutionize energy will come from - and that's the kind of work that's utterly impossible unless people are doing the basic research.


About the Author:

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