Easier Organic Energy on Horizon

Monday, November 7, 2011 @ 05:11 PM gHale

There is a certain way energy levels align in a critical group of advanced materials, and knowing that could lead to the development of sustainable technologies such as dye-sensitized solar cells and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).

Transition metal oxides, known for their application as super-conductors, have made possible many sustainable technologies developed over the last two decades, including organic photovoltaics and organic light-emitting diodes. While most experts know these materials make excellent electrical contacts in organic-based devices, no one really knew why.

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Now they do as researchers lay out the blueprint that conclusively establishes the principle of energy alignment at the interface between transition metal oxides and organic molecules.

“The energy-level of molecules on materials surfaces is like a massive jigsaw puzzle that has challenged the scientific community for a very long time,” said University of Toronto Professor Zheng-Hong Lu, Canada Research Chair (Tier I) in Organic Optoelectronics.

“There have been a number of suggested theories with many critical links missing,” Lu said. “We have been fortunate to successfully build these links to finally solve this decades-old puzzle.”

With this piece of the puzzle solved, this discovery could enable scientists and engineers to design simpler and more efficient organic solar cells and OLEDs to further enhance sustainable technologies and help secure our energy future.

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