Transparent Solar Cell Film Has Clear Advantages

A new solar film created at UCLA is a game-changing new kid of solar cell. An organic polymer, it is nearly fully transparent and is more durable and malleable than silicon, which forms the substrate of traditional solar power cells.


(Solar film)

"(A solar film) harvests light and turns it into electricity. In our case, we harvest only the infrared part," says Professor Yang Yang at UCLA's California Nanosystems Institute, who has headed up the research on the new photovoltaic polymer. Absorbing only the infrared light, he explains, means the material doesn't have to be dark or black or blue, like most silicon photovoltaic panels. It can be clear. "We have developed a material that absorbs infrared and is all transparent to the visible light."

"And then we also invented a new electrode, a metal, that is also transparent. So we created a new solar cell," Yang adds.

Well, the metal is actually not transparent, Yang points out; it's just so small that you can't see it. The new polymer incorporates silver nanowires about 0.1 microns thick, about one-thousandth the width of a human hair, and titanium dioxide nanoparticles as an electrode. When in liquid form, it is as clear as a glass of water, and when applied to a hard, flat surface as a film it is meant to be invisible to the eye.
(Via PhysOrg)

Professor Yang Yang of UCLA’s Nanosystems Institute shares his innovative plans for the film saying, “Whenever people think about solar, they think about the big silicon panels that they put on their roof, or the big solar farms that SoCal Edison builds out in the desert. But for the future of energy use, we must think about how to harvest energy whenever and wherever it is possible. If we can change the concept that energy has to come from one source, which is the power company, that the supply should not be subject to the limitations of the power grid, a lot of new things can happen.”
(Via PIE Global)

The film may eventually be sprayed onto surfaces, which would bring low-cost solar energy to everyone's homes, cars and electronic devices, according to Dr. Yang.

Science fiction fans fondly remember their disbelief when they first read about the idea of a solar power cell you could just spray on in Larry Niven's 1995 novel The Woman in Del Rey Crater.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/14/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Skin Wearable Harvests Power With Triboelectric Effect
'He had tightened the chest to gain maximum pumping action...'- Frank Herbert, 1965.

Neuroscientist Works Toward Virtual Immortality ala Clarke
'Nothing will be left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1956.

Colloidal Quantum Dots Make Spray-On Solar Cells Possible
'Black Power... you spray it on.'- Larry Niven, 1995

Race Into The Future With Bionic Boots
'The tremendous loping strides afforded by such devices... '- Neal Stephenson, 1995.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Autonomous Cars Will Own Themselves
'The robot drew his cab up before Eric's modest six-room bungalow.'

World's First 3D Printed Villa
'It makes drawings in the air following drawings...'

Hyperloop Track Starts Next Year
All aboard!

Brainflight Brain-Controlled Drone
'Mr Gant, you must think in Russian. Can you do that?'

Students Control Lab Experiments Remotely Via App
'Hello, Europa... Is this your robot I'm looking at, in sector 94?'

ROBEAR Nursing Care Robot
What other robots are strong enough to carry you? Do you want them to do so?

Testing New Spacesuits In 1929 And 2015
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

Space Station Kitchens 1929 and 2015
'Plates and cups ... slowly floated down to the floor and were not broken.'

Volvo's 'Drive Me' Program Offers Autonomous Cars In 2017
'She woke just before the signal from the car which would have called her...'

Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry
'You can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial...'

Neptune Duo Smartwatch Wearable Wristband
'[He] pressed several buttons on the wide bracelet he wore upon his left wrist...'

FAA Drone Rules Beta Ready For Comments
Drones, big and small, you're going to like them all.

'Cortical Modem' Latest On DARPA's Wishlist
'...inside his skull... is a little cylinder, that neuronic receptor-transmitter.'

The Martians Are On Their Way!
'Dense clouds of smoke or dust, visible through a powerful telescope on earth...'

GuardBot Robotic Sphere Of War
Much more ominous looking when they come after you.

Sony Aibo Robotic Dog Now With No Repairmen
'...they break down and then everyone in the building knows.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.