A double-glazed solar window, triple use: shading, insulating and generating energy

Quantum dots appear as an alternative to solar technology which can also be “Promising”. This is what they think in the laboratory in Los Alamos, USA, where this material is used to build a solar window with double glazing and at least triple use: to provide shade, to insulate the interior and capturing the sun’s energy from different parts of the spectrum to convert it into electricity.

The invention could result in lower costs for solar energy, according to its promoters. This price effect is based on the architecture of this new solar collector, since it would use two layers of quantum dots at low cost. Obviously, in these points lies the key to the functioning of the team. And in this, experts were used, who ensured that they could absorb different parts of the solar spectrum. There, precisely, is the secret of the idea.

“The division of the solar spectrum is the key”, assures Victor Klimov, responsible for this investigation. Through this division, this advance processes the higher and lower energy photons separately. This approximation results in an increase in energy production. Photocurrent improvements were also found thanks to the chosen architecture.

To achieve all of the above, we worked on two types of quantum dots. Yes indeed, the front layer of this collector consists of quantum dots with manganese ions which make this technology highly emissive. This part of the innovation not only absorbs the blue and ultraviolet parts of the solar spectrum, but also eliminates the losses caused by the absorption of quantum dots itself.

The structure of this new system is completed by the back. This is composed of a layer of quantum dots based on copper, indium and selenide, which captures the rest of the solar spectrum. In this way, experts explain that when absorption occurs, the points emit a photon at a higher wavelength which is conducted to the window frames, where the light is collected and converted into electricity.

With the desire to serve as a complement to current photovoltaic technology, the promoters of these collectors see among its possible uses its incorporation into conventional solar panels or its integration into semi-transparent windows for buildings. In all these cases, these solutions could “Offer a new way to reduce the cost of solar energy”, in the words of Klimov, which underlines the high performance of this innovation based on quantum dots. For now, according to the study the team published in Photonics of nature, the created prototype achieved an energy conversion efficiency of 3.1%. However, scientists say efficiency could skyrocket “And reach over 100%” in structures with windows larger than 2,500 square meters.