Skip to content

September 4, 2017

Stanford toughens up cheap solar cells by mimicking insect eyes

by John_A

While silicon solar panels are already providing electricity for a lot of homes and buildings, it doesn’t mean researchers have stopped looking for better and cheaper alternatives. Case in point, a team of Stanford scientists working to make a cheaper photovoltaic mineral called perovskite a viable option for people who want to shift to solar. Perovskites are as efficient as silicon solar cells when it comes to converting sunlight into energy, but they’re fragile and can deteriorate easily when exposed to the elements. The team had to find a way to make them more durable — and they’ve found inspiration in the compound eyes of insects.

Their solution involves encapsulating perovskite microcells in a hexagon-shaped epoxy resin scaffold that measures 0.02 inches wide. They then put hundreds of those together like a honeycomb to mimic the compound eye of a fly. The study’s co-lead author Nicholas Rolston says the scaffold wall protects the fragile minerals, especially since epoxy resin is “resilient to mechanical stresses.”

To find out if their creation works, they tested their design by exposing it to temperatures that reached 185 degrees F and 85 percent relative humidity for six weeks. They found that the insect eye-inspired panel survived those harsh conditions while still generating electricity “at relatively high rates of efficiency.” Despite their success, the researchers believe they can still boost the cells’ efficiency. They’re now looking for ways to be able to direct more light reflected by the scaffold into the perovskite-flled center of each cell.

Via: Digital Trends

Source: Stanford

Read more from News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

%d bloggers like this: