|30 juin 2010 Aalto University
The 2010 Millennium
Technology Prize was awarded in June 2010 in Helsinki to Professor
Michael Grätzel, who discovered dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC),
also known as "Grätzel cells". The basic principle of the DSC resembles
the photosynthesis of plants; and these cells have a major potential for
mass production. The development of DSCs calls for a multidisciplinary
research approach combining several fields of physics, chemistry, and material
science. In the New Energy Technologies Group, led by Professor Peter Lund
from the Department of Applied Physics at Aalto University, research in
DSCs has been carried out since 2001.
| Technically, DSC is an electrochemical solar
cell, where light absorption and current generation occur in dye molecules.
The cell has a sandwich-like structure: there are two electrodes which
are traditionally deposited on glass, and the space between them is filled
with liquid or solid electrolyte.
DSCs have several advantages over conventional silicon photovoltaic technologies: high energy conversion efficiencies can be reached using cheap and abundant materials. Furthermore, DSCs can be prepared using simple printing technologies without requiring a cleanroom.
The manufacturing is even compatible with high-throughput roll-to-roll production on large areas when flexible substrates are used. These solar cells have great potential for economic large-scale solar electricity generation, but they are also interesting in the near term as an enabling energy technology for mobile and printed electronics applications.