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News Flash

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Will your windows generate power one day?

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According to scientists at the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Brookhaven National Lab. and Los Alamos National Lab, electricity  can be generated when transparent thin films of a semiconducting polymer doped with fullerenes absorbing solar energy.

These materials can form a self-assembled structure, whose interesting optical properties depend on the consistency of micron-sized hexagon shaped cells over a relatively large area.  These optical properties result from polymer chains, which are packed densely at the edges of the hexagon but loosely packed and thinly spread at the center.  The  resultant structure prevents the center from absorbing much light and so remain relatively transparent.  The densely packed edges of the hexagon strongly absorb light and allow the conduction of  electricity.  It was found that the rate of solvent evaporation determined the polymer packing.  Further work is planned to find ways to control the degree of polymer packing, which influences the rate of charge transport.

[Reference: H-L. Wang, M. Cotlet et al. Chemistry of Materials; Web publication date: Nov. 1, 2010; DOI: 10.1021/cm102160m]