Clearing the way for solar energy

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Lynn Loo works with graduate students Stephanie Lee (left) and Jacob Tarver hassessing plastic solar cells in a moisture-free box and in a low-dust “clean room” lab.

 
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Lynn Loo *01, an associate professor of chemical engineering, is developing plastics that conduct electricity and could be used to make low-cost solar cells. To absorb and convert light into energy, solar cells require transparent electrodes so the circuitry doesn’t block the light. These clear electronics are commonly made of indium tin oxide, an expensive compound that drives up production costs. To make solar panels more affordable, Loo is working with Princeton Engineering graduate students to make transparent electrodes from low-cost plastics. The electrodes are made from organic solutions (top right) to be incorporated into electrical circuits that might one day make cheap solar power a reality. Loo was recently chosen to receive the 2010 John H. Dillon Medal of the American Physical Society for her work in organic electronics.

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