Various aspect ratios of ZnO nanotubes created for this research, where higher ratios had greater efficiencies (Photo: Professor James Durrant)
The noise of urban environments may help boost the efficiency of solar cells (Image: Shutterstock)
Increasing the efficiency of a hybrid solar cell simply by placing it near a source of ambient noise or vibration would be a boon for photovoltaics in urban areas, in the military, or on machinery or transportation. Hybrid organic/inorganic solar cells are already a tempting option over silicon because of their lower cost, but they suffer from their own drawbacks of efficiency. However, new research demonstrates that the piezoelectric qualities of the cells' inorganic layer can be used to boost the overall efficiency of hybrid systems, which is promising for wherever sound and sun are together.
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