Researchers from Rice university announced the invention of a cathode made of nanotubes that are seamlessly bonded to graphene, designed to replace traditional expensive and brittle platinum-based materials and make flexible dye-sensitized solar cells more low-cost.
The new dye-sensitized solar cells were found to be as much as 20 percent better at converting sunlight into power than platinum cells, with an efficiency of up to 8.2 percent compared with 6.8.
Dye-sensitized solar cells use simple organic dyes to cover conductive titanium dioxide particles and abosorb photons to produce electrons. They are much less efficient than silicon-based solar cells but still have several advantages due to the fact that they are semi-trasparent, easier and low-cost to produce (no need for a clean room) and they even work on cloudy days.
Rice University researchers also recently used graphene and CNT-based supercapacitors to be used in panels of electric car doors.