Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

See-through solar film: Researchers double efficiency of novel solar cell

Date:
July 29, 2013
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
Nearly doubling the efficiency of a photovoltaic breakthrough made in 2012, researchers have developed a two-layer, see-through solar film that could be placed on building windows, sunroofs, smartphone displays and other surfaces to harvest energy from the sun.

New solar cells. UCLA researchers have developed photovoltaic cells with twice the energy harvesting capacity of cells developed in 2012. The cells, which can be processed to be transparent or in shades ranging from light green to brown, could be used to make building windows, smartphone screens, car sunroofs and other surfaces into sources of sustainable energy.
Credit: Solar Cell, Yang Yang, 2013

Nearly doubling the efficiency of a breakthrough photovoltaic cell they created last year, UCLA researchers have developed a two-layer, see-through solar film that could be placed on windows, sunroofs, smartphone displays and other surfaces to harvest energy from the sun.

The new device is composed of two thin polymer solar cells that collect sunlight and convert it to power. It's more efficient than previous devices, the researchers say, because its two cells absorb more light than single-layer solar devices, because it uses light from a wider portion of the solar spectrum, and because it incorporates a layer of novel materials between the two cells to reduce energy loss.

While a tandem-structure transparent organic photovoltaic (TOPV) device developed at UCLA in 2012 converts about 4 percent of the energy it receives from the sun into electric power (its "conversion rate"), the new tandem device -- which uses a combination of transparent and semi-transparent cells -- achieves a conversion rate of 7.3 percent.

Researchers led by Yang Yang, the Carol and Lawrence E. Tannas, Jr., Professor of Engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, said the new cells could serve as a power-generating layer on windows and smartphone displays without compromising users' ability to see through the surface. The cells can be produced so that they appear light gray, green or brown, and so can blend with the color and design features of buildings and surfaces.

The research was published online July 26 by Energy & Environmental Science, a Royal Society of Chemistry journal, and it will appear later in a published edition of the journal.

"Using two solar cells with the new interfacial materials in between produces close to two times the energy we originally observed," said Yang, who is also director of the Nano Renewable Energy Center at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. "We anticipate this device will offer new directions for solar cells, including the creation of solar windows on homes and office buildings."

The tandem polymer solar cells are made of a photoactive plastic. A single-cell device absorbs only about 40 percent of the infrared light that passes through. The tandem device -- which includes a cell composed of a new infrared-sensitive polymer developed by UCLA researchers -- absorbs up to 80 percent of infrared light plus a small amount of visible light.

Chun-Chao Chen, a graduate student in the UCLA materials science and engineering department who is the paper's primary author, said using transparent and semi-transparent cells together increases the device's efficiency, and that the materials were processed at low temperatures, making them relatively easy to manufacture.

Other authors of the study were Gang Li, a staff researcher in the materials science and engineering department at UCLA; Jing Gao, a materials science and engineering graduate student; and Letian Dou and Wei-Hsuan Chang, graduate students in the UCLA materials science and engineering department and the California NanoSystems Institute.

The research was funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Office of Naval Research and EFL Tech.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. The original article was written by Bill Kisliuk. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chun-Chao Chen, Letian Dou, Jing Gao, Wei-Hsuan Chang, Gang Li, Yang Yang. High-performance semi-transparent polymer solar cells possessing tandem structures. Energy & Environmental Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1039/C3EE40860D

Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "See-through solar film: Researchers double efficiency of novel solar cell." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130729133634.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2013, July 29). See-through solar film: Researchers double efficiency of novel solar cell. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130729133634.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "See-through solar film: Researchers double efficiency of novel solar cell." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130729133634.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) 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