Researchers Design Novel Transparent Solar Cells

Researchers Design Novel Transparent Solar Cells

A team of researchers from Incheon National University, Republic of Korea, has developed “transparent photovoltaic” (TPV) device which is basically a transparent version of the traditional solar cell.

A paper outlining this new technology appeared recently in Nano Energy journal.

As we all know that today, climate change is at its worst. Its high time to find cleaner alternatives especially for energy. Thus scientists have been looking for something known as “personalised energy“. Personalised energy is basically enabling a person to generate on-site energy. This is possible by integrating solar cells into windows, car glasses, mobiles, screens etc. And for all this, transparent solar cells is the solution

Let us get some background about solar cells to understand the current technology. Solar cells are basically of two types:
1. Wet type: These are solution-based.
2. Dry type: These are made up of metal-oxide semiconductors.

Out of these two, dry type wins as they are reliable, eco-friendly, and cost-effective. But the possibility of using these metal oxides for transparent solar cells was not fully explored. The current team identified this and started working in this direction.

The team came up with an innovative design for a metal-oxide-based TPV device. They inserted an ultra-thin layer of silicon (Si) between two transparent metal-oxide semiconductors with the goal of developing an efficient TPV device.

Prof Joondong Kim, who led the study, said, “Our aim was to devise a high-power-producing transparent solar cell, by embedding an ultra-thin film of amorphous Si between zinc oxide and nickel oxide.”

This novel design came with several advantages which are as follows;

  1. It allowed for the utilization of longer-wavelength light.
  2. It resulted in efficient photon collection compared to other TPVs.
  3. It allowed for the faster transport of charged particles to the electrodes.
  4. It can generate electricity even under low light situations.

Based on tests, the research team is really hopeful that they can soon bring this out for real-life applications.

Journal Reference:
Sangho Kim, Malkeshkumar Patel, Thanh Tai Nguyen, Junsin Yi, Ching-Ping Wong, Joondong Kim. Si-embedded metal oxide transparent solar cells. Nano Energy, 2020; 77: 105090 DOI: 10.1016/j.nanoen.2020.105090

Press Release: Incheon National University

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