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Solar Cell


— Science

Breakthrough allows inexpensive solar cells to be fabricated from any semiconductor

Despite their ability to generate clean, green electricity, solar panels aren't as commonplace as the could be. The main sticking point, of course, is price. Due to their need for relatively expensive semiconductor materials, conventional solar cells don't yet have a price-efficiency combination that can compete with other sources of electricity. Now Profs. Alex Zettl and Feng Wang of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley have developed seriously unconventional solar cell technology that allows virtually any semiconductor material to be used to create photovoltaic cells. Read More
— Environment

German researchers developing higher-efficiency organic solar cells

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, through its Light Technology Institute, this month will initiate new research on printable organic solar cells. The four-year project aims at increasing the efficiency of such cells to more than 10 percent. These promising, cheaper solar cells can be manufactured using existing techniques such as screen printing and continuous roll-to-roll processes. So far, however, low efficiency rates have stood between these cells and the market. Read More
— Environment

Two-faced solar cells boost yields by up to 50 percent

Israeli photovoltaics developer bSolar has developed a double-sided solar cell it claims can boost the energy yields of solar panels by up to 50 percent when installed vertically, or by between 10 and 30 percent in more typical installations. The "bifacial" cells rely on a back surface field (BSF) of boron rather than aluminum, which bSolar claims not only allows for an open rear face but also increases the efficiency at the front of the solar panel. Read More
— Environment

"Nanoscale sandwich" technique could mean thinner, cheaper solar cells

We certainly hear a lot about solar cells that are able to convert larger and larger percentages of the sun’s energy into electricity. That’s all very well and good, but if those more-efficient solar cells are too expensive, they will still ultimately prove impractical for everyday use. Researchers from North Carolina State University, however, have found a way of creating “ultra-thin” solar cells that should create just as much electricity as their thicker siblings, but at a lower cost. Read More
— Environment

MIT researchers develop all-carbon solar cell

Researchers at MIT have developed a new type of photovoltaic cell made with carbon nanotubes that captures solar energy in the near-infrared region of the spectrum, which conventional silicon solar cells don’t. The new design means solar cell efficiency could be greatly increased, boosting the chances to make solar power a more popular source of energy. Read More

Special solar cells produce electricity from underwater sunlight

Although solar cells are proving indispensable for powering things such as electronic sensors on dry land, sensors located underwater have typically had to rely on batteries, or electricity piped in from photovoltaic panels situated above the surface. That could be changing, however, as scientists from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have recently developed functioning underwater solar cells. Read More
— Children

Son-X gives kids audio encouragement to get into the swing of things

It's hard to believe how many classic children's toys are getting modern makeovers these days - from the Etch A Sketch to toy helicopters to footballs - and now it looks like even the playground swing set is getting a slight upgrade with the Son-X Octavia. When attached to any swing, the Son-X will play different sound bites depending on how high or long a child swings, encouraging them to go higher. Read More
— Environment

Stable dye-sensitized solar cell may provide cheaper alternative to silicon

Solar power is up there as the quintessential clean energy and there’s a race worldwide to develop better solar cells to overcome current challenges related to cell efficiency, manufacturing costs, durability and materials, among other things. One of the latest developments in the sector comes from Northwestern University where researchers have developed a stable dye-sensitized solar cell that may one day prove cheaper than silicon-based cells. Read More
— Environment

Doping leads to new efficiency record for graphene solar cells

Doping graphene with trifluoromethanesulfonyl-amide (TFSA) has enabled researchers at the University of Florida (UF) to set a new efficiency record for graphene solar cells. While the record-breaking efficiency of 8.6 percent is well short of the efficiencies seen in other types of solar cells, it is a big improvement over previous graphene solar cells that saw efficiencies ranging up to 2.9 percent. The development provides hope for cheaper, durable graphene solar cells in the future. Read More
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