JUL 24, 2022 10:00 AM PDT

Creating window-sized, transparent solar cells

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and published in Joule discuss a new method to manufacture highly efficient and semitransparent solar cells that could be used on home windows, someday. This study is intriguing since silicon-based solar cells that we often see on rooftops and solar farms are traditionally nontransparent. This new technology could open the door for more organic-based solar cells that might negate the need for solar panels on rooftops.

"In principle, we can now scale semitransparent organic solar cells to two meters by two meters, which brings our windows much closer to reality," said Stephen Forrest, the Peter A. Franken Distinguished University Professor of Electrical Engineering and a co-author on the study.

Due to engineering challenges such as low efficiency and short lifespans, organic solar cells haven’t been able to keep pace with the more common silicon-based solar cells. But Forrest’s lab hopes to change that, as recent work from the lab has been able to reach a record 10% efficiency and potential lifespans of up to 30 years. Because of this success, the research group started focusing on manufacturing transparent solar cells.

While lasers have traditionally been used to produce the solar cell patterns, the team found this method can easily damage the organic light absorbers. Instead, the group accomplished their micron-scale resolution via a multistep peel-off pattern method. The team was successful in connecting eight semitransparent solar cells, each 1.6 inches by 0.16 inches (4 cm by 0.4 cm). Results in efficiency tests showed only a 7.3% conversion rate, which was approximately 10% less for the individual cells in the module. This is significant since that small energy loss does not increase with the size of the module.

"It is now time to get industry involved to turn this technology into affordable applications," said Xinjing Huang, U-M doctoral student in applied physics and first author on the study.

A long-term goal is to be able to put the transparent solar panels in between two windowpanes with about 50% transparency and 10-15% efficiency.

Sources: Joule

As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!

 

About the Author
MSc in Geological Sciences
Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran who earned both a BSc and MSc from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Laurence is extremely passionate about outer space and science communication, and is the author of “Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey”.
You May Also Like
SEP 02, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
James Webb Space Telescope Sees Its First Exoplanet
SEP 02, 2022
James Webb Space Telescope Sees Its First Exoplanet
The James Webb Space Telescope sent back its first image of an exoplanet, the first one taken from space. The JWST launc ...
SEP 07, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
Sequencing Living Cells, Individually, Without Killing Them
SEP 07, 2022
Sequencing Living Cells, Individually, Without Killing Them
When genes in a cell are active, they are transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules. So researchers can take a sna ...
SEP 13, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Greater Than 1.1 Million Sea Turtles Poached Over The Last 30 Years
SEP 13, 2022
Greater Than 1.1 Million Sea Turtles Poached Over The Last 30 Years
In a recent study published in Global Change Biology, an international team of researchers led by Arizona State Universi ...
SEP 14, 2022
Technology
New Imaging Tech Reveals New Details about Rare Disease Choroideremia
SEP 14, 2022
New Imaging Tech Reveals New Details about Rare Disease Choroideremia
Choroideremia is a rare genetic condition that causes the eye to lose all layers of the retina, the thin layer of tissue ...
SEP 21, 2022
Technology
Researchers Examine "Black Box" of Artificial Intelligence
SEP 21, 2022
Researchers Examine "Black Box" of Artificial Intelligence
In a recent paper presented at the Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence, a team of researchers from the ...
SEP 29, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
Grad Student Highlights: Al Ibtida Sultana (Florida Institute of Technology)
SEP 29, 2022
Grad Student Highlights: Al Ibtida Sultana (Florida Institute of Technology)
Al Ibtida Sultana is a Chemical Engineering PhD Candidate at the Florida Institute of Technology whose research focus in ...
Loading Comments...