Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, January 13, New Media Special Report According to a report on the US Daily Science website on January 5, researchers demonstrated the first transparent solar cell. Their innovative technology relies on a specific part of the solar cell: a heterojunction made of a light-absorbing thin film material. By combining the unique characteristics of titanium dioxide and nickel oxide semiconductors, researchers were able to create an efficient and transparent solar cell.
According to the report, five years after the Paris climate agreement was signed, everyone is paying attention to the world’s progress on the road to a carbon-free future. A key part of this goal is to realize the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy such as solar, hydro, wind, and tidal energy. Among them, solar energy, as the most reliable and abundant energy source on earth, has always been placed the greatest hope in the scientific community. In recent decades, solar cells have become cheaper, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly. However, current solar cells are often opaque, which prevents their wide application and integration into everyday materials, and is limited to the arrangement of rooftops and remote solar farms.
But what if the next generation of solar panels can be integrated into windows, buildings and even mobile phone screens? This is the hope of Professor Jin Zhongdong from the Department of Electrical Engineering at Incheon National University in South Korea. In a recent study published in the “Power Magazine”, he and his colleagues detailed their latest invention: a completely transparent solar cell. Jin Zhongdong said: “The unique characteristics of transparent photovoltaic cells may have various applications in human technology.”
According to the report, the idea of transparent solar cells is well known, but this new application in which scientists can put this idea into practice is a crucial new discovery. Currently, the material that makes solar cells opaque is the semiconductor layer responsible for capturing light and converting it into electric current. Therefore, Jin Zhongdong and his colleagues studied two possible semiconductor materials, and previous researchers believed that they have ideal properties
The first is titanium dioxide, which is a well-known semiconductor that has been widely used in the manufacture of solar cells. In addition to its excellent electrical properties, titanium dioxide is also a non-toxic environmentally friendly material. This material can absorb ultraviolet light while letting most visible light through. The second material they studied to make a heterojunction is nickel oxide, which is also a known semiconductor with high light transmission. Nickel is one of the most abundant elements on the earth, and its oxide is easily produced at industrial low temperatures. Therefore, nickel oxide is also an excellent material for making environmentally friendly batteries.
The solar cell prepared by the researchers consists of a glass substrate and metal oxide electrode, covered with a thin layer of semiconductor (first titanium dioxide, then nickel oxide), and finally a silver nanowire coating as another electrode in the battery. The researchers conducted multiple tests to evaluate the absorbance and transmittance of the device, as well as its effectiveness as a solar cell.
The report pointed out that their findings are encouraging: the energy conversion efficiency of this solar cell is 2.1%, and the performance is quite good because it only targets a small part of the spectrum. The battery’s response is also very sensitive and can work in low light conditions. In addition, more than 57% of visible light can pass through the semiconductor layer of the battery, so the battery is transparent. In the last part of the test, the researchers demonstrated how to use their device to drive a small engine. Jin Zhongdong said: “Although this innovative solar cell is still in its infancy, our research results strongly indicate that it is possible to further improve the transparent photovoltaic cell by optimizing the optical and electrical properties of this cell.”
Post time: Jan-15-2021