This was originally developed by Texas Instruments in the mid 1980's ...
aside for endless promises of being the next break thru (almost always to
get some grant or other funding monies), nothing has become of it. Texas
Instruments gave up and sold off the technology ... if TI couldn't make it
work, I doubt some new "research lab" is going to have Sharp,BP and other
shaking in there boots
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3079001/ is one of many past stories ... this was
If you read between the lines on the latest PR , its coming from the New
Mexico State University , which no doubt is looking for refill of
troughs($$$) for there "break thru" research
Heres the real clincher and I quote:
" The development is an outgrowth of the collaborative's work developing
high-tech coatings for military aircraft, a program supported by Sens. Pete
Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., Curran said."
I think you're confusing the buckyball technology with TI's spheral
solar cells, which were made from spheres of silicon that were enormous
compared to a buckyball. The spheral technology is now owned by a
company in Canada that is trying to either develop it or sell it. It's
not going anywhere, IMO.
Both the stories here are about plastic solar cells that are very
different from TI's cells. These actually have a lot of potential, but
it will likely be a decade or two before anything like this makes a dent
in the commercial PV market. I don't believe their "five years" timeline
for an instant.
I don't think it's the buckyballs increasing the efficiency --
non-buckyball organic PV efficiencies in the neighborhood of 5% have
also been reported. Rather, I think they're tinkering with the way they
form the electronic junction between the two plastic layers that form
the cell in order to minimize the distance that the electrons have to
travel to reach it. This is critically important because if they don't
reach the junction, they can't participate in the flow of current. I'm
oversimplifying quite a bit, but I suspect that's the essence of what
I wouldn't exactly call it a breakthrough, but these days that word has
been cheapened to the point that it's only useful for recognizing when
someone has nothing to say.
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