Researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) unveiled what would be an inexpensive solar cell that could be painted or printed on flexible plastic sheets by developing organic solar cells from carbon-based nanomaterials.
The solar cells use carbon nanotubes, cylindrical assemblages of carbon atoms that are 50,000 times thinner than a human air, and buckyballs (soccer-ball-like spherical structures). Combined together, the buckyballs capture the electrons released when the sunlight strikes the solar cells, while the nanotubes, behave like copper wires and conduct the electrons to generate an electrical current.
“Using this unique combination in an organic solar cell recipe can enhance the efficiency of future painted-on solar cells,” said Professor Mitra. “Someday, I hope to see this process become an inexpensive energy alternative for households around the world.”
Imagine being able to paint the solar cells onto an exterior building, roof top, or even a hybrid car which could produce electricity to drive the engine.