Organic materials are attractive to the solar industry because of their comparative low cost and physical flexibility. NIST findings reveal how to test a candidate organic material's viability at converting light to electricity both quickly and directly. Credit: Cappello/Georgia Tech, Courtesy National Renewable Energy Lab
Hunting for the best material from which to build organic solar cells can be like seeking the proverbial haystack needle, but now scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Naval Research Laboratory may have a better search tool for the nascent industry.
The team's research findings in Nature Communications show it is possible to test a candidate material quickly and directly, using off-the-shelf laser technology. The method bypasses the costly, time-consuming step of constructing a prototype solar cell for each material to be evaluated.