A group of researchers from the department of physics at the Bharathiar University has been working to produce solar cells by means of graphene, a form of carbon. They anticipate this to be a cost effective and simpler method of producing efficient solar cells. The team has formulated a method to make graphene absorb more light, which would produce power in it. They have applied for patent for this process.
Presently, solar cells are made using silicon, which is a complex procedure and needs an industrial set-up, said D Nataraj, professor of physics at the university, who heads the research team. Silicon needs to be developed, cut and polished, which is a costly process, he added.
Nataraj said the process they have developed comprises decomposing citric acid, a chemical which is available easily. On decomposing, it transforms into small patches of graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of carbon.
As graphene is thinner than silicon, the efficiency of the cell would also be higher, he said.
People at the department have been undertaking the research for the past five years, said Nataraj. The department has dedicated equipment worth around Rs. 5 crores for the research, acquired using funds from UGC and Department of Science and Technology (DST) he added.
Quite a few industries have by now expressed interest in implementing this technology, said officials of the university’s intellectual property rights cell.
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