Tough little crystals

Robust ionic liquid crystals could form the core of an efficient class of photosensitive materials, thanks to research by Yuji Wada and colleagues at Osaka University and Yokohama National University. They developed a new way to exploit ionic liquid crystals as the electrolyte in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). DSSCs use dye molecules, nanocrystalline metal oxides and liquid electrolytes, to give them a high light-to-electricity conversion efficiency and a low production cost. This latest development shows the ILC-based DSSCs to be among the most efficient yet.