SOLAR GOES GOLD
Nano Gold Rush: Researchers use tiny gold particles to boost organic solar cell efficiency; Plasmonic technique helps enhance power conversion by up to 20 percent.
22 August 2011 (World of Renewables)
"In the world of solar energy, organic photovoltaic solar cells have a wide range of potential applications, but they are still considered an upstart. While these carbon-based cells, which use organic polymers or small molecules as semiconductors, are much thinner and less expensive to produce than conventional solar cells made with inorganic silicon wafers, they still lag behind in their ability to efficiently convert sunlight into electricity.
"Now, UCLA researchers and their colleagues from China and Japan have shown that by incorporating gold nanoparticles into these organic photovoltaics — taking advantage of the plasmonic effect, by which metal helps to enhance the absorption of sunlight — they can significantly improve the cells' power conversion…"
(from Wikipedia - click to enlarge)
"They found that by employing the interconnecting gold-nanoparticle layer, they were able to enhance power conversion by as much as 20 percent. The gold nanoparticles create a strong electromagnetic field inside the thin organic photovoltaic layers by a plasmonic effect, which concentrates light so that much more of it can be absorbed by the subcells.
"The team is the first to report a plasmonic-enhanced polymer tandem solar cell, having overcome the difficulties involved in incorporating metal nanostructures into the overall device structure…"