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Hardware

Submission + - UCLA creates visibly transparent solar cell (geek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at UCLA have managed to create a new type of visibly transparent solar cell. It works by harvesting solar energy from infrared rather than visible light. It does this by utilizing a silver nanowire-metal oxide composite conducting film that is almost transparent. The end result is a new polymer solar cell you can see through, but does have a slight impact on the visible light passing through it, much like sunglasses or tinted glass does.

As for how good this transparent cell is at harvesting solar energy, it is currently only managing a 4% efficiency, but that’s sure to be improved through further development. A transparency limited to 66% and low efficiency will stop this cell being considered for integration with a touchscreen, but it certainly makes sense to add to a window or other non-interactive glass surfaces. The cell is also thought to be quite cheap to manufacture due to its use of a composite electrode made from a mixture of silver nanowire and titanium dioxide nanoparticles.

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UCLA creates visibly transparent solar cell

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