The hunt for a truly clean energy source that can replace our current fossil fuel systems is still underway. While we’ve seen breakthroughs in solar panels that don’t need sunlight to generate energy, we’ve yet to conquer the transparency issue with solar panels. A group of Japanese researchers has made an important step in creating transparent solar panels.
Over time, the use of solar panels has changed how electricity is generated. Solar panels can still be expensive and take up much space. But what if there were transparent solar panels? These could be used to replace old windows.
That seems to be the idea behind a new paper published by researchers in the journal Scientific Reports earlier this year. According to the authors of the paper, they may have finally figured out a way to make what they call near-invisible solar cells. The transparent panels could be attached to windows, if they are not already built into the glass. They would then harness sunlight to power their own energy.
As the threat to climate change is increasing, many are looking for better ways to incorporate clean energy such as solar panels. To ensure the Earth’s future success, it is essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions . Transparent solar panels would allow us to blend them into homes and buildings more easily and efficiently.
Toshiaki Kato, Tohoku University’s researcher on this new study led the effort. This team uses a conductive material called indium tinoxid to exploit the interaction between thin materials. The alloy can be used to make transparent solar panels. It is also colorless.
The complex interactions between the material and the design used to create the transparent solar panel system are broken down in the paper. But, based on what the researchers shared, the new system works by coating the material, also known as ITO, with carefully chosen thin metals and then placing an insulating layer between the ITO and a vapor of tungsten disulfide.
This setup allowed the researchers to control the contact barrier between the materials. The researchers’ designs allowed for more efficient energy conversion than the current ITO-based solar cell. The researchers also discussed how the design could be used on a large scale to create more efficient and transparent solar panels.
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