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Breakthrough in Organic Solar Cell Technology

Scientists from New Mexico State University and Wake Forest University have made a breakthrough in solar research. This team has developed more efficient organic solar cells made of relatively inexpensive plastic, as opposed to traditional solar panels which are made of silicon which is expensive and fragile.

The scientists announced that they have achieved a solar efficiency level of 5.2% with their organic solar cells, compared to previous research only reaching 3-4%. This has been the biggest drawback to organic solar cells. 10% of the energy in sunlight must be converted to electricity to be considered effective. Traditional silicon panels typically convert about 12% of the sunlight's energy to electricity.

"With this group’s research, it may be only four or five years before plastic solar cells are a reality for consumers", said physicist Seamus Curran, head of the nanotechnology laboratory at NMSU.

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