A new breakthrough for a novel solar film from researchers at UCLA could be a big step toward see-through solar cells for building and vehicle windows, smartphone screens, and other surfaces.
The researchers have developed a two-layer solar film composed of thin polymer solar cells, and the newest iteration of the film is said to hit double the efficiency as the last version. The new film allows for harvesting of energy from a wider range of the solar spectrum, while also reducing energy loss between the two cells by the use of a layer of proprietary material.
“Using two solar cells with the new interfacial materials in between produces close to two times the energy we originally observed. We anticipate this device will offer new directions for solar cells, including the creation of solar windows on homes and office buildings.” – Yang Yang, the Carol and Lawrence E. Tannas, Jr., Professor of Engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science
The new tandem polymer solar cells, made from photoactive plastic, can absorb up to 80% of infrared light plus a small amount of visible light, and because the materials for the cells can be processed at low temperatures, they are “relatively easy to manufacture”.
The results of the research are published at the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science: High-performance semi-transparent polymer solar cells possessing tandem structures
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