Luna Innovations Incorporated (NASDAQ:LUNA) announces the solar cell research of scientists Dr. Claudia Cardona and Dr. Martin Drees has been published in the prestigious journal Nature Materials. The paper titled "Endohedral fullerenes for organic photovoltaic devices" presents a unique approach to enhance flexible, plastic solar cells, also known as organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells, by modifying the acceptor material rather than the donor material. The paper, which is co-authored by researchers from Georgetown University, University of California at Santa Barbara, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, describes how the efficiency improvement was achieved through the use of Luna’s carbon nanomaterials.
“Organic solar cells offer the potential for clean, renewable energy at an affordable price,” said Kent Murphy, Chairman and CEO of Luna Innovations. “These exciting energy harvesting devices can change the way we convert sunlight to electricity. Because they are flexible and easy to handle, they have potential for use in mobile communication devices, consumer electronics, fabrics, building materials, and more. An improvement in efficiency through the use of a novel acceptor molecule is unique to the industry and could enable solar cell manufacturers to increase performance and reduce costs.”
Organic solar cells are made out of plastic-like polymers that serve as electron donors and are combined with fullerene nanomaterials, which serve as electron acceptors. Organic solar cells weigh less and are cheaper to manufacture compared to conventional inorganic silicon-based solar cells, which are presently favored by the solar industry. An existing disadvantage of organic solar cells is the efficiency at which they convert sunlight to electricity. Luna’s solar cells use patented carbon nanomaterials to capture more energy in the photovoltaic process, which increases the organic solar cell efficiency.
“Our research demonstrates an entirely new approach of enhancing OPV device performance by using improved acceptor materials, and expands an area of OPV research that has remained relatively stagnant over the last decade,” said Dr. Drees. “Luna’s novel acceptor materials operate at high conversion efficiencies and are an excellent complement to the fast growing semi-conductive-polymer field. This demonstration is a significant advancement towards making practical organic solar cell devices.”
This paper is an example of Luna’s work in materials that could produce alternative energy forms. The company is focusing on integrating its carbon nanomaterial technology into the products of solar cell manufacturers making commercially viable products. Luna’s nanomaterials have been independently verified at NREL as setting a new record for efficiency of the commercially available P3HT organic solar cell polymer. Luna continues its work to further optimize organic solar cell performance through government-funded technology development programs.
Luna’s research efforts were supported by the National Science Foundation and Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
The paper in Nature Materials was scheduled for Advance Online Publication at http://www.nature.com/materials/, beginning on February 8, 2009. Papers published online before they have been allocated to a print issue are citable via a digital object identifier (DOI) number. The DOI for this paper is 10.1038/nmat2379. Once the paper is published electronically, the DOI can be used to retrieve the abstract and full text (abstracts are available to everyone, full text only to subscribers) by adding it to the following URL: http://dx.doi.org/.
About Luna Innovations:
Luna Innovations Incorporated (www.lunainnovations.com) develops and manufactures new-generation products for the healthcare, telecommunications, energy and defense markets. Our products are used to measure, monitor, protect and improve critical processes in the markets we serve. Through its disciplined commercialization business model, Luna has become a recognized leader in transitioning science to solutions. Luna is headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia.
About Nature Materials:
Nature Materials is a monthly multi-disciplinary journal aimed at bringing together cutting-edge research across the entire spectrum of materials science and engineering.
Forward Looking Statements:
This release includes information that constitutes "forward-looking statements" made pursuant to the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding the increased energy efficiencies of Luna’s nanomaterials, the potential for affordable solar energy, possible performance enhancements, and progress towards the commercialization of organic solar cells. Actual results may differ materially from the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including technical difficulties with OPV cells, polymer systems or Luna’s nanomaterials, cost issues, competition from alternative, more affordable energy sources, and risks and uncertainties set forth in the company's periodic reports and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Such filings are available at the SEC's Web site at www.sec.gov, and at the company's Web site at www.lunainnovations.com. The statements made in this release are based on information available to the company as of the date of this release and Luna Innovations undertakes no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this release.
Disclaimer: Luna’s research efforts were supported by NSF Grants IIP-0740454 and 0348955 and Air Force Office of Scientific Research contract FA9550-06-C-0010. Any opinion, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research or the National Science Foundation.