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Cost Effective Excitonic Solar Cells

Excitonic cells can be grouped into three categories Cost Effective Excitonic Solar Cellsbased on their structure: dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), bulk heterojunction (polymer) solar cells (BHSCs), and small molecule based (p-i-n-type) organic solar cells. Excitonic solar cells use tightly bound electron-hole pairs (excitons) created from interaction with light to transfer energy to an interface where charge separation occurs. This is in contrast to traditional semiconductor solar cells in which free electrons (and holes) are generated directly from incident light. Excitonic solar cells are based on organic components (e.g., dyes, polymers, gels, etc.) and therefore, do not require the more expensive high purity semiconductors used in traditional solar cells. In addition, excitonic solar cells have the potential to be extremely low cost because clean-room conditions are unnecessary and low-temperature fabrication techniques can be used. The objective of this research is to develop high efficiency DSSCs and BHSCs that are low cost, robust, and easy to fabricate by using full spectrum dyes and improved electron and hole transport materials. The goal is a 30% improvement in cost effectiveness over current devices in five years.  DSSCs have recently been designated "a core solar technology program" by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.