Scientists at the University of Manchester and National University of Singapore have combined graphene with another atom-thick material to create paper-thin solar surfaces. The research, published in Science, could create a graphene solar coating for powering buildings when applied to exterior walls.
Combining graphene — a super material that is the world's thinnest, strongest and most conductive — with monolayers of transition metal dichalcogenides (TDMC), which act as efficient light absorbers, produced sensitive and efficient photovoltaic devices that rival today's solar panels.
“Such photoactive heterostructures add yet new possibilities, and pave the road for new types of experiments," said University of Manchester's Kostya Novoselov, who won a Nobel Prize in physics with colleague Andrew Geim for the discovery of graphene in 2004. "As we create more and more complex heterostructures, so the functionalities of the devices will become richer, entering the realm of multifunctional devices.”
In addition to powering buildings, the breakthrough could lead to extremely thin solar cells or ultrasensitive photodetectors. The Telegraph also speculates that this research could lay the foundation for extremely thin, solar-powered phones.
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