Project TitleSolid State Solar Cell that Overcomes Limitations of Grätzel Cell
Track Code2011-088 and 2011-092
Short Description

Improved solid state solar cell technology with new electrolyte material.

#energy #solar


Northwestern researchers have developed a new solar cell that minimizes the limitations of conventional and current solar cells. This invention, the product of an interdisciplinary collaboration between a chemist and a nanotechnology expert, has a number of benefits, including lowering production cost, decreasing battery efficiency, and increasing its durability. In particular, their device solves a significant problem of the Grätzel cell, which was previously considered the promising future of solar cells because it was both cost-efficient and environmentally friendly. However, the Grätzel cell's electrolyte was made of organic liquid which was found to leak and corrode the solar cell itself. Further, these cells did not last more than 18 months. Northwestern researchers created a new electrolyte material for the Grätzel cell which starts as a liquid but then solidifies, producing a solid-state solar cell that is inherently more stable. This cell exhibits high conversion efficiency of approximately 10.2%. Unlike the Gratzel cell, it also utilizes both n-type and p-type semiconductors and a monolayer dye molecule serving as the junction between the two. The nanoparticles provide an enormous surface area upon which the light-absorbing dye is coated. The sunlight-absorbing dye sits between the semiconductors and is capable of absorbing more light over a wider range of the visible spectrum than the typical dye. This lightweight thin-film structure offers a more promising future in solar technology.

TagsENERGY: solar
Posted DateFeb 19, 2013 1:42 PM


Robert Chang*
In Chung
Mercouri Kanatzidis*
Konstantinos Stoumpos
Byunghong Lee


• Solar Cells


• Lower production cost
• High operating efficiency
• Stable and longer durability
• Compatible with automated manufacturing


IP Status

Contact Information

Chao Zhang, PhD
Invention Associate
(p) 847.491.4629