Science Articles

THE DISCOVERY OF TRANSPARENT AND FLEXIBLE SOLAR CELLS

In order to meet the rise in demand for the renewable energy, the photovoltaic sector experienced a large exponential growth over the years.

In order to meet the rise in demand for the renewable energy, the photovoltaic sector experienced a large exponential growth over the years. Even though we lack behind in the conversion efficiency, the positive development has taken place with a rise of 58.5% market growth in the photovoltaic cells.

In response to the positive changes, new technologies are being discovered like that of organic solar cells. These can be processed at a cheaper rate and display mechanical flexibility along with light weight.

 

SOLAR CELLS AND USE OF GRAPHENE

MIT has developed a new flexible and transparent solar cell. The device combines the use of low-cost carbon containing materials (organic in nature) with the graphene electrode (a transparent and flexible material which is made from the inexpensive abundant carbon sources).

The advancement in the solar technology is brought about by the deposition of a one-atom-thick layer of the graphene on the solar cell while taking care of not damaging the other sensitive organic materials.

So far, the developers of the transparent solar cells used to rely on the expensive and brittle electrodes which even cracked when the device was flexed.  But with the use of graphene, the solar cells have come out to be atransparent, flexible and low cost which can convert any surface into the source of electric power.

 

PHOTOVOLTAIC CELLS

The photovoltaic cells made up of the organic compounds offer various advantages over the inorganic previously-used silicon solar cells. They are easier to transport to the remote regions without the need for a central power grid owing to their transparency. They are cheaper to manufacture along with being flexible and lightweight as opposed to the rigid, fragile and heavy cells.

Organic cells can be mounted on all the surfaces around us which would enable them to harness and harvest energy without us paying any attention to them. This happens because a lot of organic materials can absorb the ultraviolet and the infrared radiations from the sun and transmit only the visible part for detection.

Even though for developing the transparent and organic solar cells, the researchers had made a significant advance over the last few years, they couldn’t succeed completely owing to the lack of materials that could carry the current out of the cell. The widely used current option was to use indium tin oxide since it is transparent and also is a good conductor but it also managed to crack owing to its stiffness. Also, indium is relatively expensive and rare.

But with graphene as the alternative, the future looks promising.