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Solar Cell

Energy

New device combines the advantages of batteries and supercapacitors

Scientists at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute have developed a new device that combines the high energy densities of batteries and the quick charge and discharge rates of supercapacitors. The hybrid supercapacitor is reportedly six times as energy-dense as a commercially available supercapacitor and packs nearly as much energy per unit volume as a lead-acid battery. Read More

Environment

Eyes inspire more efficient solar cell architecture

Solar cells don't at first glance have any relation to a tiny structure in the eye that makes our central vision sharp, but that tiny structure – called the fovea centralis – may be the key to a huge boost in solar cell efficiency. A team of scientists at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light took the underlying mechanisms that guide the fovea and adapted them to silicon as a surface for collecting light in solar cells.Read More

Electronics

New technique could produce the ideal light-absorbing material for solar cells

Solar cell efficiency has made significant strides in recent times, but cells are still far from their maximum theoretical efficiency, and part of the reason is that the semiconductors we use to build them don’t have ideal electrical properties. Researchers at Northwestern University have now found a way to tweak an important electrical feature of transition metal oxides, compounds commonly used as semiconductors, to build the optimal light-absorbing material for solar cells, lasers and photoelectrochemical cells.Read More

Solar-powered chip reminds you to shut your windows

Although it may be handy to have sensors in your windows that remind you if you've left them open, running electrical wiring to all those sensors (or regularly changing their batteries) could be a hassle. A new window-monitoring radio sensor chip, however, gets all the power it needs from the sun. Read More

Environment

Record efficiency for converting solar energy to hydrogen without rare metals

Using solar energy to split water into its component parts, thereby allowing the solar energy to be stored as hydrogen fuel, generally involves one of two methods: using photoelectrochemical cells to directly split the water, or using solar cells to produce electricity to power an electrolyzer that separates the water molecules. One problem associated with the latter method is that it currently relies on rare metals. But now scientists from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have managed to do so using common materials, and have achieved a record solar energy to hydrogen conversion efficiency in the process.Read More

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