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Entanglement at heart of 'two-for-one' fission in next-generation solar cells

last modified Jan 28, 2016 11:19 AM

The mechanism behind a process known as singlet fission, which could drive the development of highly efficient solar cells, has been directly observed by researchers for the first time. Researchers, led by the University of Cambridge, used ultrafast laser pulses to observe how a single particle of light, or photon, can be converted into two energetically excited particles, known as spin-triplet excitons, through a process called singlet fission. If singlet fission can be controlled, it could enable solar cells to double the amount of electrical current that can be extracted.

“Harnessing the process of singlet fission into new solar cell technologies could allow tremendous increases in energy conversion efficiencies in solar cells,” said Dr Alex Chin from the University’s Cavendish Laboratory, one of the study’s co-authors. “But before we can do that, we need to understand how exciton fission happens at the microscopic level. This is the basic requirement for controlling this fascinating process.”

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Image: Credit: Lawrence W Chin, David Turban and Alex W Chin