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New property revealed in graphene could lead to better performing solar panels

An international research team has discovered a new mechanism for ultra-efficient charge and energy flow in graphene, opening up opportunities for developing new types of light-harvesting devices. The researchers fabricated pristine graphene -- graphene with no impurities -- into different geometric shapes, connecting narrow ribbons and crosses to wide-open rectangular regions. They found that when light illuminated constricted areas, such as the region where a narrow ribbon connected two wide regions, they detected a large light-induced current, or photocurrent. The finding that pristine graphene can very efficiently convert light into electricity could lead to the development of efficient and ultrafast photodetectors -- and potentially more efficient solar panels.

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