Solar cells seem to frequently improving on the go for maximum efficiency. As of now, three cases have been broken by two different devices as per the report, one of which pushes the highest overall mark of 50% mark to solar conversion efficiency.
The device is a 6-junction III-V solar cell, which means that it is built with six different kinds of the photoactive layers. Each of them is made up of various III-V materials, which names for their positions on the periodic table. It receives energy from different parts of the light spectrum.
A flexible solar cell whose beliefs could power the next generation of portable technologies has been created by an international team. The device is said to be less than a tenth of the width of a man’s hair. It is also reported that it can be folded. As per the researchers’ analysis, the invention is expected to have a lifespan of approximately 20,000 hours and works for a minimum of 11.5 years with little or no deterioration in quality. You can find the research paper on the Joule journal as well as PNAS journals.
The research team plan is to commercialize the just developed solar cell technology. However, the invention of such is likely to take more years before it could be refined and implemented.
At least, the benefits are clear enough, as it could lead to the invention of more portable items that only need small batteries, or not at all. This could make their lifespan to be longer and fine-tune them compared to the relatively bulky devices we are using and seeing nowadays.
On a serious note, the record was broken under focused light to be around 143 times stronger than natural sunlight we are seeing. For the effectiveness, its design might decrease in actual uses as it was reported that the team says the device could be constructed with a mirror to focus sunlight on the flexible solar cell.
Who are the Researchers of the Innovation?
The minds behind this innovation are Japanese from RIKEN, with the assistance of teams Monash University and other universities led the research work. The next step would be the hope to put the tech innovated on the commercial market which is at present working on.
Dr. Huang said he developed one of the thinnest solar cells in the world while being ultra-flexible. The technology can also simultaneously achieve better power conversion efficiency, exceptional mechanical properties, and deep stability. Huang is very optimistic about the potential of the invention to replace the energy sources of the future.
The devices were created in a laboratory in Japan with advanced scientific equipment and processes. However, other sensitive methods have been carried out in a separate facility specializing in experiments on renewable energy.
The trick was the development of “mechanically robust” light-absorbing materials which features one of the highest power conversion efficiencies of all organic cells, at 13%. It’s lower than many conventional solar cells (over 20%), but it should be enough for bracelets. They are relatively easy to make thanks to continuous printing technology.
With this method, the team achieved a maximum efficiency of 24.16%. It’s not as high as the silicon-perovskite tandem cells, but since this is the first perovskite-CIGS tandem cell, it’s a great start. The thickness, or rather the thinness, of the technology, makes it possible to produce flexible solar modules that, being extremely light and stable against radiation, would be well suited to space applications.
How Do Solar Cells Work?
A solar cell is working as a sandwich of n-type silicon (blue) and p-type silicon (red) which has the ability to generate electricity using sunlight to blow up electrons through the junction between the variety of flavors silicon:
- The photons which are particles of light bombard the top surface when sunlight shines on the cell.
- Photons which are yellow spots in nature transport their energy through the cell.
- The photons give up their energy to the electrons which is green spots in nature in the lower p-type layer.
- Electrons use this energy to jump through the barrier in the upper n-type layer and escape through the circuit.
How to Make a Solar Cell
To make a solar cell, below are the requirements
Step 1: Heating a copper foil
- Light a propane torch first and hold it in one hand.
- Take a copper sheet on your other hand with the use of tongs.
- Hold the copper foil in the flame.
- Heat the copper until the section under the flame turns glowing for a minimum of one minute.
- Lay the copper foil on a fireproof surface.
- Pick the copper up once again with the use of tongs, for you to be able to hold a different location and heat a new area with the torch.
- Repeat the above process until you have treated a few different points on the copper foil.
- Place the copper foil on your flame retardant surface and allow it to cool to air temperature.
- Ensure the heated area has been blackened, although other colors may also be present.
Step 2: Prepare the first thread
- Strip 1 inch of insulation from each end of copper wire with the use of wire strippers.
- Attach one end of the wire to the copper foil using the alligator clip. Make sure it is fixed on clean copper and not blackened.
Step 3: Prepare the salt mixture
- Mix the salt in a cup of water until it is no more dissolve.
- At this point, the saline solution is at its maximum concentration.
- Place several drops of saltwater in different areas where the copper is blackened.
- Due to microscopic irregularities on the copper surface, all the drops will produce different results.
Step 4: Prepare the second wire
- Strip an end of the insulation from each end of the second wire by using the wire strippers.
- Place one end of this wire in one of the salines drops on the blackened copper areas.
- Place the weight on the wire to hold it in place. This will make the solar cell to be ready. If you hang the other ends of the wires on a small bulb while the cell is in direct sunlight, it will light up. If you connect them to a voltmeter, you will be able to see the voltage developed by your solar cell.