Fluorine, bromine, chlorine, and iodine are the four elements included under halogens. As per a new research study, using these elements in solar cells that employ dyes for producing electric currents, the performance efficiency of the cells can be increased by more than 20%. This research could lead towards better designs of solar cells in the future.
This research was carried out jointly by the University of British Columbia and the University of North Carolina. According to lead author Fraser Parlane from the University of British Columbia, the dye-sensitized solar cells using halogens are quite suitable for urban applications. These cells are also considered as evidence that halogens and other molecules used in the cells can bond properly, thus, leading towards better solar performance of the cells.
More about Solar Cells
A solar cell that uses dyes for producing electric current mainly consists of the following components: a number of electrodes, an electrolyte, and film made by using a semiconductor that is coated with a light-absorbing dye. After a light beam comes in contact with the dye, the latter enables the release of electrons into the film which further travel to the electrodes. This process ultimately leads to the generation of an electric current.
The research conducted speaks about the presence of halogens, which were found to substantially improve the transfer of electrons, thus producing a strong electric current. Researchers at both universities conducted experiments with four dyes that respectively consisted of fluorine, bromine, chlorine, and iodine. An X-ray absorption spectroscopic technique was used in these experiments. As a part of the study, it was discovered that if a halogen of a higher atomic radius was being used, more electrons were supplied for the generation of an electric current. This was observed after using dyes containing iodine (larger radius than fluorine) led to the generation of electrons at least three times faster than the fluorine.
From an overall perspective, the use of halogens in dye-synthesized solar cells could be considered truly revolutionary.