Iron-based solar cells on track to becoming more efficient

An international study led from Lund University in Sweden shows that 30 per cent of the energy in a certain type of light-absorbing iron molecule disappears in a previously unknown manner. By closing this loophole, the researchers hope to contribute to the development of more efficient solar cells using this iron-based solar cell.

The sun is an unlimited source of pure and renewable energy. However, manufacturing the components in today’s silicon-based solar cell solutions requires a lot of energy, and many new solar celluse rare or toxic elements.

Researchers at Lund University have therefore started to develop alternative solar cell solutions based on iron. As a part of this research, an international research team recently carried out a free electron laser experiment at Stanford in the US to investigate how light-absorbing iron molecules transfer electrons into a state from which the energy can be extracted.

“It was shown that in one-third of cases, the electron is not held in position long enough for us to extract the energy. Instead the energy disappeared very rapidly over a previously unknown channel”, says Jens Uhlig, chemistry researcher at Lund University and leader of the study.

Read the Scientific article: "Hot Branching Dynamics in a Light‐Harvesting Iron Carbene Complex Revealed by Ultrafast X‐ray Emission Spectroscopy" by Tatsuno et al (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201908065) or read more in the press release from Lund University (in English or in Swedish) or in Evertiq (in Swedish), Rinnovabili (in Italian), Energinyheter (in Swedish), Solar Daily (in English), Miljö&Utveckling (in Swedish), Photonics Online (in English).