april 6, 2009
Anti-glare coating makes see-through
Put an antiglare coating on an organic
solar cell and you've got windows that generate electricity.
Making a window that's also a solar cell involves a major
trade-off. To generate useful amounts of electricity solar cells need
to absorb as much light as possible, but to be transparent windows
need to absorb as little visible light as possible.
The prototype power-generating window absorbs ultraviolet
and infrared light but transmits blue-green visible light. The organic
solar cell, which has a conversion efficiency of 0.5 percent, is made
of a blue dye and carbon nanospheres. The key to the device is an
antireflection coating on the solar cell's ultrathin silver electrode.
The coating increases the electrode's transparency to visible light.
The organic solar cell is layered on the inside of a double-glazed
window, which protects the cell. Organic solar cells are made at moderate
temperatures. This keeps costs down and opens the possibility of combining
solar cell and window manufacturing.
The next step is broadening the portion of the visible spectrum
the device transmits and increasing its relatively low efficiency.
Solar Cells with Semitransparent Metal Back Contacts for Power Window
ChemSusChem, published online March 19, 2009
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