Carbon flakes brush up for cheap solar cells

GIVING graphene – atom-thick sheets of carbon – a good brush could be the key to boosting the efficiency of cheap solar cells. A graphene-based dye that yields photoelectrons could be used in dye-sensitised solar cells – a cheaper alternative to silicon-based cells. But the idea turned out to have a sticky problem. A team of chemists led by Liang-shi Li at Indiana University in Bloomington were able to make graphene flakes of a suitable size for photoelectric dyes – about 2 nanometres across. But usually flakes of this size would coalesce to form insoluble graphite. Li’s team found that bonding “brushes” …
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