Graphene oxide coating could make more efficient solar cells, protect artworks


Researchers have shown graphene oxide coatings as offering potential in boosting the efficiency of electronics and protecting artwork.

Currently, solar cells used a layer of alumina, silica or some other material to boost their efficiency, said Dr Nadim Darwish of Curtin University, the lead author on a paper in ACS Advanced Materials & Interfaces titled “Impermeable Graphene Oxide Protects Silicon from Oxidation.”

Protective layers on semiconductors are complicated to apply, requiring expensive machinery and facilities.

“Our breakthrough was finding that graphene oxide reacts quickly with silicon without the need for external catalysts, additives or complicated procedures,” Darwish said in a statement.

“We found the graphene oxide protects silicon from ambient oxygen for at least 30 days, which is a significant step forward in applying the properties of 2D materials such as graphene and graphene oxide to make silicon even more efficient and useful.”

Co-author and PhD student Soraya Rahpeima, also of the university’s School of Molecular Life Sciences, said potential also existed beyond silicon, for example in protecting stamps and artwork from degradation by UV light and moisture.

Graphene is a 2D layer of carbon atoms, first physically isolated in 2004 and believed to offer a wide range of industrial uses, ranging from water filtration to antimicrobial products to sensing.

Picture: Curtin

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