Solar cells that work in low light could charge devices indoors
“Imagine never having to charge your phone, e-reader, or tablet again. Researchers report that they have created solar cells that work at a record efficiency for making electricity from the low-intensity diffuse light that is present inside buildings and outside on cloudy days. The solar cells could one day lead to device covers that continually recharge gadgets without ever having to plug them in.
Diffuse light solar cells aren’t new—but the best ones relied on expensive semiconductors. In 1991, chemist Michael Graetzel of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne invented so-called dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) that work best in dim light and are cheaper than the standard semiconductors. Yet under full sun, the best DSSCs convert only 14% of the energy in sunlight to electricity—versus about 24% for standard solar cells—essentially because the energy comes too fast for DSSCs to handle. When the energy comes at a slower pace, as it does with low-intensity indoor light, Graetzel’s DSSCs could convert up to 28% of the light energy they absorb into electricity…”
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