Organic solar cells made from "small molecule" materials could soon become a viable competitor against polymer-based devices as a result of rapid efficiency gains coupled with innate cost and fabrication advantages.

While polymer-based cells currently dominate the field of organic solar power, scientists have recently made striking advances in the technology for small-molecule cells which could put their efficiency rates on par. Researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara, led by Alan J. Heeger, have found they can lift…