Transparent solar panels can make any surface, like smartphone screens and windows, into power generators.
Researchers from Michigan State University have created a transparent solar panel that captures light and converts it into electricity, according to Factor Tech. The team have developed organic molecules that are able to capture waves of sunlight that are not visible to the human eye.
“It opens a lot of area to deploy solar energy in a non-intrusive way,” said Richard Lunt, who worked on the research. “It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there.”
The panels rely on infrared light, which moves to the edge of the material to convert it into electricity.
“No one wants to sit behind colored glass. It makes for a very colorful environment, like working in a disco. We take an approach where we actually make the luminescent active layer itself transparent," Lunt said. “We can tune these materials to pick up just the ultraviolet and the near infrared wavelengths that then ‘glow’ at another wavelength in the infrared.”
The team still needs to work on the efficiency of the transparent solar panels. Currently, the conversion rate is about one perfect, but researchers believe they can increase this to almost 5 percent.
Read More Stories on Not Impossible Now
- Why 'Big Hero 6' Brought a Robotics Professor to Tears
- The Real Secret to Making Hendo Hoverboards Float? Teamwork
- Technology Could Help Subs Travel Across Pacific in Less Than 2 Hours
- Windowless Airplanes Streamline Manufacturing
- You Won't Believe What This Sweet Ride Depends on for Power
- Real-Life Iron Man Suits Being Tested
- Latest Greatest: Ditch Scuba Tanks for Crystals?
- This Apple Computer Is Worth $905,000. Here’s Why
- Neurologist Says Head Transplants Are Now Possible
- Tesla’s ‘Disappointing’ Announcement Shows How High Tech Bar Has Risen
- Step Aside, Segway! The Mobile Stool Is Coming Through
- Mass-Market 3-D Printer Turns Everyone Into a Maker