Researchers of University of Western Sydney are working on a technology that could deliver performance far beyond existing batteries for digital cameras and mobile phones.
The team is hoping to produce a high-efficiency carbon cell that could compete with silicon cells, but be 1000 times smaller and last longer.
Project co-ordinator Kamali Kannangara said the aim was to develop a method to make carbon solar cells from carbon nanotubes to create smaller and more powerful energy devices.
The team has been working on the project for 18 months.
"We are hoping that we can functionalise it so it is going to be effective, but it is at least a couple of years off," Dr Kannangara said.
She said the research would link photovoltaic ferrocene molecules to nanotubes by using microwave energy to carry out effective functionalisaton.
The research could also lead to advances in more efficient and compact solar cells.
The project is funded by the Australian Research Centre for Functional Nanomaterials at Queensland University.