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Tuesday, February 27, 2024 at 07:00 p.m.

Vitamin C for the manufacture of solar cells

A recent study has proven that, by applying this substance, the useful life of photovoltaic devices based on organic materials increases.

Irene Vega

Organic solar cells are an emerging technology in the field of renewable energy. For its manufacture, mixtures of organic compounds are used as an active layer to absorb light and convert it into electricity. This technology offers advantages such as lightness, flexibility of the devices, as well as low production cost. However, the great disadvantage of this technology is the durability of solar cells, due to their degradation due to exposure to oxygen, heat and light.

Researchers from the DELFO-URJC group have collaborated with members of the University of Southern Denmark in a work in which a layer of vitamin C has been introduced into the structure of organic solar cells in order to increase their stability. To study the evolution of efficiency, two types of devices were manufactured, some with vitamin C and others without this substance (reference devices), and a comparison was made on their stability. “After 95 hours of operation, the devices with vitamin C decreased their efficiency to 62% of their initial value, while the reference devices, without vitamin C, did so by up to 36%.”

The results obtained, published in the scientific journal ACS Appl. Mother. Interfaces, have shown that the incorporation of this substance increases the useful life of photovoltaic cells. “The electronic characterization of the devices under lighting conditions has confirmed that vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, eliminating the radicals that are formed during the decomposition of the active layer,” explains Beatriz Romero, co-author of the study and researcher in the DELFO group.

As a continuation of this work, we propose to study whether the use of ascorbic acid in other types of materials, both organic and hybrid perovskites (a family of materials that share the same crystalline structure), can be a winning strategy in improving the stability of these devices.