CORVALLIS, Ore., April 22 (UPI) — U.S. and South Korean scientists say they’ve made a breakthrough in the use of continuous flow microreactors to produce thin film absorbers for solar cells.
Researchers at Oregon State University, in collaboration with Yeungnam University in Seoul, said their innovative technology could significantly reduce the cost of solar energy devices and reduce material waste.
The scientists said their study represent one of the first demonstrations that microreactor technology, which is safer, faster and more economical than previous chemical solution approaches, could be used to continuously and rapidly deposit thin film absorbers for solar cells from such compounds as copper indium diselenide.
“We’ve now demonstrated that this system can produce thin-film solar absorbers on a glass substrate in a short time, and that’s quite significant,” Associate Professor Chih-hung Chang said. “That’s the first time this has been done with this new technique.”
The researchers said thin-film solar cells produced by their new technique could ultimately be used in the creation of solar energy roofing systems. Conceptually, instead of adding solar panels on top of the roof of a residential or industrial building, the solar panel itself would become the roof, eliminating such traditional approaches as plywood and shingles.
The research appears in the journal Current Applied Physics.
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