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Scientists found New Pathway to Use Sun for Energy

Scientists have made significant advances in using photovoltaic technologies to convert sun energy to electricity.  At the current state, the sources are still deficient in competing with electricity or transportation fuel derived from petroleum.

Scientists have found a hidden charge-generating pathway that could improve the efficiency of current photovoltaic technologies to convert sunlight into electricity or solar fuels like hydrogen. These scientists are from Berkeley Lab, DESY, the European XFEL, and the Technical University Freiberg and published in Nature communication.

They used DESY’s free-electron laser FLASH to shine ultrashort infrared and X-ray laser flashes on a copper-phthalocyanine: fullerene. The material to study the charge generation mechanisms with a time resolution of 290 femtoseconds (290 quadrillionth of a second).

Scientists combined ultrashort pulses of light with time-resolved X-ray photoemission spectroscopy to determine and calculate the number of photons absorbed by CuPc: C60 formed applicable separate charges, and the number of absorbed photons only led to heating the material.

Oliver Gessner, a senior scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division, said this way gave a new approach to an unknown pathway in CuPc: C60 that turns up to 22% of absorbed infrared photons into separate charges. Previous studies of CuPc: C60 assessed the system’s efficiency by measuring the total amount of charges or hydrogen or oxygen produced when using the material in a photovoltaic or photocatalytic device.

He also added that this tells you how efficient the entire process is from the light absorption until water is split. There is a lot happening in the system that we don’t understand. If people don’t understand these steps they will not understand the usage of the sun’s energy.

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