Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Transparent Solar Cells Made For Windows

Date:
June 16, 2009
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
If solar cells were transparent, they could be fitted to windows and building facades. Physical modeling helps in the development of suitable materials for transparent electronics and thus in creating the basis for transparent solar cells.

Transparent solar cells.
Credit: Image courtesy of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Offering a view of the garden and an adjacent field, it looks like any other window. But this window offers an additional feature: it also produces electricity. The facades of the house, too, harness solar energy to supply the occupants with electrical power. This is what the domestic power supply of the future could look like. The surface area used to produce energy would increase greatly with transparent solar cells.

To translate the vision of see-through solar cells and transparent electronics into reality, two different transparent coatings would be required – one to conduct the electricity via electrons, the n-conductors, and one in which electron holes enable the electricity to flow, the p-conductors. To produce these coatings the engineers dope the base material with a few other atoms. Depending on which atoms they use, they obtain the differently conducting coatings. N-conducting transparent materials are state of the art, but the p-conductors are problematic. Their conductivity is too low and often their transparency is poor. Manufacturers need a transparent base material which is amenable to both n- and p-doping.

At present, indium tin oxide is mainly used for the n-conductors, but this is costly. Indium has become a rare commodity and its price has increased tenfold since 2002. The search for substitute materials is therefore in full swing. At the same time, various questions need to be answered, such as which materials would be best suitable, what they should be doped with to obtain good conductivity, and how good their transparency is. Research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM working in cooperation with other Fraunhofer colleagues have developed material physics models and methods which help in the search.

“If transparent p-conductors with adequate conductivity could be produced, it would be possible to realize completely transparent electronics,” says Dr. Wolfgang Kφrner, research scientist at the IWM. Using electron microscope images, the researchers initially determine the grain boundaries which most frequently occur in the material – i.e. irregularities in the ordered crystal structure. These defect structures are modeled atom by atom. Special simulation methods calculate how the electrons are distributed in the structures and thus in the solid body. From the data the researchers extract how conductive and transparent the material is. “We have found, for example, that phosphorus is suitable for p-doping zinc oxide, but that nitrogen is more promising,” says Kφrner.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Transparent Solar Cells Made For Windows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090610161004.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2009, June 16). Transparent Solar Cells Made For Windows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090610161004.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Transparent Solar Cells Made For Windows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090610161004.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) — Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest

Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) — At least six Nepalese guides are dead after an avalanche swept the slopes of Mount Everest along a route used to climb the world's highest peak. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins