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The efficiency of electricity production in color-sensitive solar cells has been improved with nano-technology by researchers at Amirkabir University of Technology.

 | Post date: 2024/01/2 | 
Researchers at Amirkabir University of Technology have succeeded in improving the energy production efficiency of color-sensitive solar cells through nano-technology. According to the public relations office of Amirkabir University, Mahboubeh Rafieipour Chirani, a PhD graduate in applied chemistry from Amirkabir University, and the executor of the project "Preparation of graphene-based nanofillers functionalized with metal complex intermediates to improve the performance of color-sensitive solar cells," stated: "With the rapid industrialization and lifestyle changes, the global demand for energy is increasing significantly." She added, "For many years, fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal have been considered potential energy sources to meet this global energy demand." A researcher at Amirkabir University emphasized, "If this trend continues, we will find ourselves in a planet devoid of fossil resources, which will be faced with the environmental challenges of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from combustion." Rafieipour continued, "For this reason, one of the biggest challenges for humanity today is to replace fossil fuels with renewable and clean energy sources; therefore, to address this challenge, cost-effective solutions must be provided by using available combinations and resources."
This researcher admitted that solar radiation is the best environmentally friendly and the largest available source of clean energy. He added that the use of solar power in photovoltaic technology can be a reasonable response to the energy challenge. He further added that the advancement in the production of color-sensitive solar cells has created a turning point in designing a cost-effective, lightweight, and environmentally friendly solar cell. The energy production in color-sensitive solar cells, also known as DSSCs, is similar to photosynthesis, meaning that the light-sensitive color coated on the electrode absorbs sunlight to stimulate electrons for electricity generation, and the transfer of electricity from electrons to electrodes within the cell is the responsibility of the electrolyte.
He stated that achieving a stable combination in the electrolyte by creating a balance between the photovoltaic performance and its long-term stability is one of the key factors for the successful commercialization of DSSC. He said, "The nature of the absorber and the low stability of the redox couple in organic solvent electrolytes create an important challenge for the industrial-scale production of DSSC."

He added, "For the first time, we have succeeded in synthesizing two different types of graphene oxide-based nanofillers in imidazolium-based ionic liquid solvents to achieve a stable composite in quasi-solid electrolyte with high energy conversion efficiency in DSSC." According to him, the use of these types of composite nanoelectrolytes, which are based on environmentally friendly ionic liquids, can restrict electrolyte leakage and improve the flexibility and stability of the device.

Rafieipour mentioned that the production of color-sensitive solar cells has been carried out in the pilot and semi-industrial laboratory of Amirkabir University of Technology. She added that, if necessary and with more facilities available, the use of these materials can be expanded to an industrial scale.

She said, "One of the features of the current design is achieving a color-sensitive solar cell based on an ionic liquid electrolyte along with a composite system containing nanofillers that have high compatibility with the environment compared to fugitive organic electrolytes such as acetonitrile and valeronitrile and can improve energy conversion efficiency."

Referring to other features of this design, she said, "On the other hand, we have succeeded in synthesizing new derivatives of graphene oxide using cobalt as an intermediate metal, which is expected to play a role as an auxiliary redox in the electrolyte matrix."
The researcher from Amirkabir University of Technology said, "In this research, for the first time, lansoprazole has been used as a covalently bonded functional group in the structure of graphene oxide, and its usability has been investigated based on the electronic structure of the constituent atoms."

He stated that compared to first and second-generation solar technologies, the production of third-generation solar cells is always growing and advancing due to their high diversity, structural flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. He said, "Many laboratory and industrial samples of these types of cells have entered the market and have been used in various colors in architectural structures. Additionally, due to their optimal performance in low light, they have been used in the production of electronic devices and also in military textiles."
He mentioned the competitive advantages of the project, saying, "It is hoped that the application of novel combinations alongside graphene oxide will pave the way for the creation of efficient and stable solar cells."

It is worth mentioning that the project is supervised by Professor Elaheh Kowsari and Dr. Maryam Yousefzadeh, and it is advised by Professor Hossein Salami, all of whom are faculty members of Amirkabir University of Technology. Additionally, this project has received support from the faculty advisors at the Nanofibers and Nanotechnology Center of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the National University of Singapore. The results of this research have been published in articles in the Journal of Molecular Liquids.