A new 'light pipes' breakthrough by Wake Forest University spin-off company FiberCell, Inc. promises an increase in organic solar cell efficiency of more than one hundred percent.
The 'light pipes' are perpendicular optical fibers to the cells which pipe in the sunlight. They are evenly spaced and densely populated and stamped onto the cells' polymer substrate foundation so the sun's rays can enter the tip of the fiber at any angle, bounce around there and finally get absorbed by the organic solar cell. They protrude from the surface like stubble and with a dip-coating process are surrounded by thin organic solar cells. A light-absorbing dye or polymer is sprayed on the cells. The nanomaterials provide a larger surface area for dye absorption and scatter more light in the red part of the solar spectrum.