Solar Cells Based on Iron Molecules

Laser lab in Lund to investigate iron-based dyes for solar-cells (Source: Uhlig / Lund)

Laser lab in Lund to investigate iron-based dyes for solar-cells (Source: Uhlig / Lund)

Petter Persson and colleagues at Lund University in Sweden have success­fully explained how iron-based dyes work on a molecular level in solar cells. The new findings will accelerate the development of inex­pensive and environ­mentally friendly solar cells. The goal is to be able to use iron-based dyes in solar cells in the future. By using iron instead of other more expensive and rare metals, the production of solar cells and light catchers will become cheaper and more environ­mentally friendly. The demand for solar cells is therefore expected to signi­ficantly increase.

“In this new study, we explain how iron-based dyes work on a molecular level. That way we are able to further improve these iron complexes so that they become even better at absorbing and storing solar energy”, says Persson. For decades, researchers in other parts of the world have tried to develop iron-based dyes, but without success. A crucial reason for this difficulty is that achieving the right elec­tronic properties in dyes based on iron is much more difficult compared to other metals. But where others have failed, the researchers in Lund have succeeded.

“There is a lot of inter­national interest in our research. Research groups in other parts of the world are keen to test the new dyes in other areas of appli­cation”, says Persson. It will propbably take a few years before iron dyes are used commer­cially in the production of solar cells and light catchers. However, Petter Persson is still surprised at the rapid development: “It is difficult to develop new materials for solar energy conversion. For once, the process has been un­usually quick, and we have made several important break­throughs in just a few years”. (Source: Univ. Lund)

Reference: L. A. Fredin et al.: Molecular and Interfacial Calculations of Iron(II) Light Harves­ters, ChemSusChem 9, 667 (2016); DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201600062 

Link: Physical and theoretical chemistry, Dept. of Chemistry, Lund University, Sweden

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