Web Exclusive | March 2015
A fully transparent solar cell
Bringing aesthetics to function, researchers at Michigan State University have created a fully transparent solar concentrator, which could turn any window or sheet of glass (like your smartphone’s screen) into a photovoltaic solar cell. Truly transparent, these sheets can be efficiently deployed in a wide range of settings from tall buildings to mobile devices.
To achieve this, the Michigan State researchers have created a transparent photovoltaic cell using a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC). The TLSC consists of organic salts that absorb specific non-visible wavelengths of ultraviolet and infrared light, which they then luminesce (glow) as another wavelength of infrared light (also non-visible). This emitted infrared light is guided to the edge of plastic, where thin strips of conventional photovoltaic solar cell convert it into electricity.
If all the glass we used in construction is replaced by this glass, we are sure to make this world a brighter place to live!