Rice, Tsinghua collaboration could yield low-cost, efficient alternative to silicon-based cells
Forests of carbon nanotubes are an efficient alternative for platinum electrodes in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC), according to new research by collaborators at Rice University and Tsinghua University. The single-wall nanotube arrays, grown in a process invented at Rice, are both much more electroactive and potentially cheaper than platinum, a common catalyst in DSCs, said Jun Lou, a materials scientist at Rice. In combination with newly developed sulfide electrolytes synthesized at Tsinghua, they could lead to more efficient and robust solar cells at a fraction of the current cost for traditional silicon-based solar cells. Lou and co-lead investigator Hong Lin, a professor of materials science and engineering at Tsinghua, detailed their work in the online, open-access Nature journal Scientific Reports this week.