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CNR: Alamanacco della Scienza

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N. 14 - 19 set 2012
ISSN 2037-4801

International info   a cura di Cecilia Migali

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Energy from the Sun

The Cnr-Istituto Officina dei Materiali (Cnr-Iom) organized in collaboration with the Centre Européen de Calcul Atomique et Moléculaire (Cecam), the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa, Italy) and the California University (Usa) the international conference 'Energy from the Sun', recently hosted in Chia, Sardinia.

The conference brought together computational chemists, physicists, and materials scientists who are addressing the problem of solar energy conversion and storage from different perspectives. Keynote talks have been given by leading scientists such as Walter Kohn (Nobel Prize), Michael Grätzel (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland), Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci (University of Linz, Au) and helped identify the most challenging issues in the design of novel materials and processes.

In the field of photovoltaics, emerging technologies making use of organic components have reached performances comparable to that of silicon based solar cells. In particular, Michael Grätzel, the inventor of dye-sensitized solar cells, announced that we are close to break a new record after the well-known efficiencies value (12.3%). The Dye-sensitised solar cell is a photovoltaic device that achieves the separation of the functions of light absorption and charge carrier transport.

As in natural photosynthesis, the role of the sensitizer is to absorb light and generate energy, under the form of electric charges, then - as Michael Grätzel stated - "the main application of this device will be on the surface of buildings". Other attractive features of Dye-sensitised solar cells derive from their inherent nature: they are inexpensive, can be simply obtained using conventional roll-printing techniques, and are semi-flexible (and semi-transparent) which offers a variety of uses not applicable to glass-based systems (as we normally see).

Michael Grätzel is author of over 900 publications and inventor of over 50 patents. The first article on this theme was 'A low cost, high efficiency solar cell based on dye-sensitized colloidal TiO2 films' by Michael Grätzel and Brian O'Regan. This work has been cited over 88000 times for this reason Grätzel is among the 10 most highly cited chemists in the world. For his work on Dye-sensitised solar cells, Michael Grätzel has been awarded the 2012 Albert Einstein World Award of Science and the Millennium Technology Grand Prize received in June 2010.

Grätzel underlined the high scientific level of the conference that took place in Sardinia (a perfect place to speak about the applications of the solar energy) and the strong interactions between different scientific communities (computational chemists, physicists and materials scientists) that is important to develop novel materials and processes towards a more efficient use of solar energy.

Andrea Mameli

 

Per saperne di più: - www.cecam.org/workshop-0-820.html