This past summer, Cornell’s continuing research into dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) saw many improvements. The record efficiency produced by this program climbed to 3.5%. This leap in efficiency can be attributed to newly developed fabrication procedures as well as new and improved measurements. The new fabrication procedures focused primarily on the TiO2 paste creation process. This involved the introduction of an organic binder to create a more uniform film and the use of a sonic dismemberator to further suspend the TiO2 particles evenly. A screen-printing process as well as an improved doctor-blading method allowed for far superior paste application. The measurements and equipment used in the summer program also saw many advances. An internal photon conversion efficiency, or IPCE, measurement was created to provide further insight into the inner workings of the solar-cells. In previous summer research projects, the photovoltage-transience measurement was first developed, but this year many improvements were made to the measurement and provided much more in depth information. All of these improvements should lead to even greater progress in the future of Cornell’s summer physics research program.
Alexander Yeagle, ’11 Berthoud, CO
Aaron Zaubi, ’11 Itasca, IL
Sponsors: Kara Beauchamp and Lyle Lichty