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Revolutionizing Solar Energy: Quantum Waves Found at the Heart of Organic Solar Cells

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image This is the experimental setup used to generate femtosecond laser pulses which serve as an ultrafast "flash" for the camera so that very rapid phenomenon can be filmed. (Credit: Simon Gelinas)

Researchers have been able to tune ‘coherence’ in organic nanostructures due to the surprise discovery of wavelike electrons in organic materials, revealing the key to generating “long-lived charges” in organic solar cells - material that could revolutionise solar energy.

By using an ultrafast camera, scientists say they have observed the very first instants following the absorption of light into artificial yet organic nanostructures and found that charges not only formed rapidly but also separated very quickly over long distances - phenomena that occur due to the wavelike nature of electrons which are governed by fundamental laws of quantum mechanics.

This result surprised scientists as such phenomena were believed to be limited to “perfect” - and expensive - inorganic structures; rather than the soft, flexible organic material believed by many to be the key to cheap, ‘roll-to-roll’ solar cells that could be printed at room temperatures - a very different world from the traditional but costly processing of current silicon technologies. 

For more on this article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212142059.htm

Source: Science Daily/University of Toronto

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