First All-Carbon Solar Cell

  • Author: ChemistryViews
  • Published: 01 November 2012
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: ACS Nano
thumbnail image: First All-Carbon Solar Cell

Zhenan Bao, Stanford University, CA, USA, and colleagues developed the first all-carbon solar cell. They replaced the silver and indium tin oxide (ITO) used in conventional electrodes of solar cells with graphene and single-walled carbon nanotubes. The photoactive layer is made of carbon nanotubes and C60. This is sandwiched between the two electrodes. The research team recently filed a patent for the entire device.

The entire device can be built using simple coating methods. It does not require expensive tools and machines.


One drawback of the all-carbon prototype is that it primarily absorbs near-infrared wavelengths, contributing to a laboratory efficiency of less than 1 %. The team is looking at a variety of ways to improve efficiency.
The ability of carbon solar cells to out-perform conventional devices under extreme conditions make them attractive for next-generation electronic devices and solar cells.


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