IISER Use Human Hair to Produce Cheaper Cathodes for Solar Cells (Download PDF)


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Researcher of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Kolkata produced cost-effective, metal-free cathodes using human hair for solar cells. This is the bio-waste-derived electrode used as cathode in a quantum dot sensitised solar cell device.

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research

In past metal-free cathodes have not performed as well as the traditional metal-based cathodes.

The team led by Prof. Sayan Bhattacharyya for the production of graphitic porous carbon cathode at the Department of Chemical Sciences accomplished this feat.

Key Features:

  • Researchers of IISER developed graphitic porous carbon cathode.
  • Succeeded in precarbonisation by cleaning and drying human hair and treating with sulphuric acid.
  • Green cathode achieves highly catalytic graphitic porous carbon stage at optimal temperature of 850 degrees C.
  • Carbonized by heating at different temperatures in the presence of slow gas for six hours.
  • Better electrical conductivity for resourceful charge transfer.


  • Simple, quick, and inexpensive production.
  • Likely to bring down the cost of solar cells.
  • Improves the power conversion efficiencies (convert observable sunlight to electricity).
  • Generates high open-circuit voltage
  • Comparable to predictable platinum and activated carbon cathodes.
  • Metal-free cathode (use of cathode is made of platinum metal and metal sulfides).
  • Bio-waste-derived cathode has greater efficiency to.

- Published/Last Modified on: October 14, 2016


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