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Organic solar cells with a low energy loss for indoor light

Sep 17, 2019, 10:30 am

Global demand for energy is expected to rise rapidly in the coming years. Hence Swedish and Chinese scientists have developed organic solar cells optimized to convert ambient indoor light to electricity.

Development of sustainable, renewable, and environmentally-friendly energy sources is one of the major challenges facing the world. Organic solar cells are thin, flexible, lightweight, and cheap, allowing for their application in a wide variety of items and so researchers have developed one that’s optimized for use with indoor light.

An organic cell is said to be ideal for wide use in daily life to power the internet of things-enabled devices. The cell could be used to power sensors that detect and measure moisture, particle concentrations, temperature, and other parameters indoors.

The new flexible organic solar cell is being developed by scientists at Sweden’s Linköping University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the University of Science and Technology Beijing that claim to have developed an organic solar cell that can convert ambient indoor light into electricity.

Its active layer is made up of a unique combination of donor and acceptor materials, allowing it to absorb the exact wavelengths of light that are typically found in most indoor environments. In a nutshell, donor materials absorb photons, while acceptors acquire electrons.

The cell provides a high voltage of above 1 V for more than 1,000 hours in ambient light varying between 200 and 1,000 lux. The larger cell, they said, maintained the energy efficiency of 23%. The technology is now commercialized by a Linköping spin-off company.

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