• A team of Russian, Estonian, German and Finnish researchers report 8.8% power conversion efficiency for hybrid thin film solar cells made with amorphous silicon and flexible transparent conductor
  • This is an increase of 16% over the previous efficiency level achieved—1.6% in 2016 and 3.4% in 2018
  • The team says this was possible because of p-type flexible transparent conductor made with single-walled carbon nanotubes
  • Such nanotubes can be used effectively in technologies ranging from optoelectronics, photonics and energy, they claim

Using a p-type flexible transparent conductor—made with single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT)—and amorphous silicon, a research team led by Laboratory of Nanomaterials at the Skoltech Center for Photonics and Quantum Materials (CPQM) in Russia managed to churn out a power conversion efficiency of 8.8% for hybrid thin film solar cells fabricated at room temperature.

The scientists claim, this is a 16% increase over traditional amorphous silicon solar cells. In 2016. the initial efficiency level reported was 1.6%, which was improved to 3.4% in 2018.

Along with partners from Finland’s Aalto University, Germany’s DLR Institute of Networked Energy Systems and Estonia’s Tallinn University of Technology, the Skoltech team say the carbon nanotubes they created are different from the current crop of transparent conductors mostly used in optical and electronic devices that are n-type semiconductors which restricts their technological development. Emergence of carbon nanotubes as p-type transparent conductors has been promising, they add.

“We have developed a p-type transparent conductor with a state-of-the-art sheet resistance of 17 Ω/sq at a transmittance of 90% in the middle of the visible spectrum and a high degree of mechanical flexibility,” explained Professor of RAS and Head of Skoltech’s Laboratory of Nanomaterials, Albert Nasibulin. “The newly developed conductor is certainly revolutionary for various single-walled carbon nanotube applications. We anticipate that this will open new avenues for its application in widespread technologies such as optoelectronics, photonics and energy.”

Their research work has been published in the international journal Nano Energy.

8.8% Efficiency For Carbon Nanotube a-Si Solar Cells