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Solar energy has immense potential as a clean energy source. Now Korean scientists have presented a innovative design for the development of a high power transparent solar cell. This innovation is a step towards the goal of a sustainable green off-grid future.

Today, climate change calls for a change in the way we produce energy, a shift from conventional fossil fuels to efficient sources of green energy.

Researchers are now discussing the concept of “personalized energy“Which would make on-site power generation possible anywhere.

For example, solar cells could be integrated into windows, vehicles, cell phone screens and other consumer products.

But for this revolution, it is important that solar panels are manageable and transparent. To this end, scientists have developed “Transparent photovoltaic” (POS) devices, transparent versions of the traditional solar cell. Unlike conventional dark and opaque solar cells (which absorb visible light), point-of-sale terminals use “invisible” light that is in the ultraviolet (UV) range.

Conventional solar cells can be of the “wet type” or the “dry type”. From this, dry type solar cells have a slight margin over wet type: They are more reliable, ecological and profitable. In addition, metal oxides are very suitable for harnessing ultraviolet light. However, despite all this, the potential of metal oxide POS has not been fully explored so far.

Researchers from Incheon National University (South Korea) have developed a innovative design of a point-of-sale device based on metal oxide. They inserted an ultra-thin layer of silicon (Si) between two transparent metal oxide semiconductors with the aim of developing an efficient point-of-sale device.

This research was published in Nano Energy. Professor Joondong Kim, who led the study, explains: “Our goal was to design a high power transparent solar cell, incorporating an ultra-thin amorphous Si film between zinc oxide and nickel oxide.“.

This new design consisting of the Si film has three main advantages.

In the first place, allowed the use of longer wavelength light (as opposed to uncoated POS).

Second, this resulted in a efficient collection of photons.

Third, it enabled a faster transport of charged particles to the electrodes. Additionally, the design has the potential to generate electricity even in low light situations (eg cloudy or rainy days).

Scientists further confirmed the device’s power generation capabilities by using it to drive a fan’s DC motor.

Based on these results, the research team is optimistic that the real applicability of this new point of sale design will soon be possible.

Professor Kim says: “We hope to expand the use of our POS design to all types of materials, from glass buildings to mobile devices such as electric cars, smartphones and sensors.“.

In addition, the team is preparing to take their design to the next level using innovative materials such as 2D semiconductors, metal oxide nanocrystals and sulfide semiconductors. Professor Kim says: “Our research is essential for a green and sustainable future, especially for connecting the clean energy system with little or no carbon footprint.“.

More information: www.sciencedirect.com