A nanostructured ‘sandwich’ of metal and plastic may be a way to nearly triple the efficiency of organic solar cells, those cheap and flexible plastic energy devices that could be the future of solar power.

The researchers were able to increase the efficiency 175 percent and the technology should increase the efficiency of conventional inorganic solar collectors, such as standard silicon solar panels, but that is another research issue. Any solar solution needs to to overcome two primary challenges that cause solar cells to lose energy; light reflecting from the cell, and the inability to fully capture light that enters the cell.

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