Experts at the University of Southern California (Berkeley) have developed a new technology that will enable to produce liquid solar cells at very reasonable cheap cost.
New development is a substance that can be applied to any surface, such as glass. Team from Berkeley will present this invention at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO: 2012), which will be held from 6 to May 11 in San Jose, California. The devices are made by Alta Devices, a start-up company promoted by Eli Yablonovitch, who is also the chief author of research paper.
Liquid solar cells are composed of nanocrystals, which are used for production of cadmium selenide semiconductors. This material is widely used in photoresistors, photodiodes, pigments for enamels and in conventional solar cells. These solar cells behave more like LEDs, that can absorb and emit light at the same times and is capable of efficiency close to 33 percent. Presently, efficiency of conventional solar cells goes maximum upto 26 percent, reports Science Daily.
Liquid solar cells can be used as replacement for classic ones in the future as their efficiency is much higher. It is noteworthy that the application of liquid solar cells does not require too high temperatures, and thus, the threat of damage to materials on which the invention is applied is very much less. Moreover, changes in the construction of solar cells can go a long way towards increasing the efficiency of solar cells through increase in ratio of absorbed light to the one being converted into electricity.
Yablonovitch says that the problem with today’s design of solar cells is that they are not capable of efficiently converting the absorbed light into electricity.
One of the authors of paper agrees that the expansion of this technology may take a few years, but a clear movement towards the integration of this technology in next generation of solar cells is quite eminent.
Despite the fact that new technology is cheap enough and easy to use, it has its one drawbacks. Cadmium selenide is very toxic, so in industry it is used in very limited quantities. That is why the scientists will have to develop nanocrystals of other, safer materials. Therefore, wide usage of these liquid solar cells can’t be expected in the near future.
Liquid solar cells can be printed on plastic instead of glass without worrying about its melting, said a Tweet. Commercial applications of nanotechnology in liquid solar cells are still at a very initial stage.
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