Thu, Feb 23, 2017 | updated 05:06 PM IST

Tiny high-performance solar cells go sideways to generate power

Updated: Aug 04, 2016 12:30 IST

Washington D.C, Aug 4 (ANI): A team of researchers has come up with high-performance, micro-scale solar cells that outshine comparable devices by making sideways swipes.

University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers' miniature solar panels could power myriad personal devices - wearable medical sensors, smartwatches, even autofocusing contact lenses.

Large, rooftop photovoltaic arrays generate electricity from charges moving vertically. The new, small cells capture current from charges moving side-to-side, or laterally. And they generate significantly more energy than other sideways solar systems.

New-generation lateral solar cells promise to be the next big thing for compact devices because arranging electrodes horizontally allows engineers to sidestep a traditional solar cell fabrication process: the arduous task of perfectly aligning multiple layers of the cell's material atop one another.

"From a fabrication point of view, it is always going to be easier to make side-by-side structures," said corresponding author Hongrui Jiang. "Top-down structures need to be made in multiple steps and then aligned, which is very challenging at small scales."

Lateral solar cells also offer engineers greater flexibility in materials selection.

Top-down photovoltaic cells are made up of two electrodes surrounding a semiconducting material like slices of bread around the meat in a sandwich. When light hits the top slice, charge travels through the filling to the bottom layer and creates electric current.

In the top-down arrangement, one layer needs to do two jobs: It must let in light and transmit charge. Therefore, the material for one electrode in a typical solar cell must be not only highly transparent, but also electrically conductive. And very few substances perform both tasks well.

Instead of building its solar cell sandwich one layer at a time, Jiang's group created a densely packed, side-by-side array of miniature electrodes on top of transparent glass. The resulting structure separates light-harvesting and charge-conducting functions between the two components.

Existing top-of the-line lateral new-generation solar cells convert merely 1.8 percent of incoming light into useful electricity. Jiang's group nearly tripled that measure, achieving up to 5.2 percent efficiency.

Jiang and colleagues are working to make their solar cells even smaller and more efficient by exploring materials that further optimize transparency and conductivity. Ultimately they plan to develop a small-scale, flexible solar cell that could provide power to an electrically tunable contact lens.

The study appears in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies. (ANI)

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 23(ANI): NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

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Noida (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Feb.22 (ANI): Germany's Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) Foundation has handed over equipment worth € 20, 000 to Amity University for accelerating research initiatives.

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Washington D.C. (USA), Feb 21 (ANI): The world's first battery to use only hydronium ions as the charge carrier has been been developed by scientists.

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Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 21 (ANI): According to a new study, Carnegie's Stephen Elardo and Anat Shahar shows that interactions between iron and nickel under the extreme pressures and temperatures similar to a planetary interior can help scientists understand the period in our Solar System's youth when planets were forming and their cores were created.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): To boost breeding of endangered poultry breeds, Briton researchers have come up with gene-editing techniques for the rare breeds to use them as surrogates that cannot produce their own chicks.

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Meet 'Bernardbowen'- the new minor planet

Updated: Feb 18, 2017 07:00 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): In a major development, a team of scientists have officially named a minor planet as 'Bernardbowen' that sits in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

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New York [USA], Feb. 17 (ANI): NASA has called on the world to help it in the search for the new ninth planet, as anyone from a kindergartener to a 95-year-old, can participate in their new project to find the not-yet-discovered celestial body.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 9 (ANI): To cut down the number of traffic fatalities, drive less!

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 8 (ANI): According to an international team of astronomers led by researchers from University Of Cambridge, the Magellanic Clouds, the two largest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, appear to be connected by a bridge stretching across 43,000 light years.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 25 (ANI): A team of researchers have discovered prehistoric wolf-sized otter fossils with a large head and a powerful jaw, weighing around 100 pounds, in China's Yunnan province.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 25 (ANI): A study finds that early identification of hearing loss in newborn due to a disease or physical abnormality by birth may help them in better language outcomes as they grow.

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Chennai [India], Jan.14 (ANI-Businesswire India): While "Jallikattu" seems to be the trending topic of discussion in Tamil Nadu at the moment, a silent revolution envisioned by youth icon and late Former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has quietly gained momentum. Ignite-India is a nation-wide innovation platform for student innovators and young entrepreneurs in high schools and colleges. Founded by International swimmer Agnishwar Jayaprakash in 2014, the organization has designed & hosted 96 Regional Innovation Conferences and 3 National Innovation Conferences across 36 cities in India where students competed to showcased their innovative creations. These innovations were judged based on the practicality, creativity & sustainability by technical experts from diverse fields.

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New Delhi [India], Jan. 13 (ANI): New computer simulations have shown that tiny droplets of sulphuric acid resulted in long-lasting cooling, which was a likely contributor to the death of land-living dinosaurs.

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New human organ in digestive system discovered

Updated: Jan 05, 2017 06:27 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan. 5 (ANI): Scientists have discovered what they are calling a new human organ that exists in the digestive system.

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Washington D.C. [USA], January 4 (ANI): Songbirds divorce, pack up and leave and miss their best chances for successful reproduction, courtesy suburban development.

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How do conch shells have such huge variety?

Updated: Jan 04, 2017 05:52 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], January 4 (ANI): Conch shells and its varied shapes and size have always been something that has captivated the eyes of collectors.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 31 (ANI): A new study finds that despite English being considered the common language of global science, over 30 percent of new scientific reports are published other languages due to which many major findings have been overlooked.

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New Delhi [India], Dec. 29 (ANI): Wake up to a chilly morning and sense a bit of rain!

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Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 27 (ANI): Researchers in the United States have found that an emotional experience, which persists for over 20 to 30 minutes, can influence how you remember future experiences.

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