Russian physicists have created a cheap technology with which organic solar cells can be made transparent without compromising their efficiency. An article describing the technology was published by the scientific journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, TASS reports with reference to the press service of the ITMO (the University of Information Technology, Mechanics and Optics).
“Conventional thin-film solar panels have an opaque metal back contact, which allows to additionally capture more light in the structure. Transparent solar panels use a light-transmitting back electrode. In this case, some of the photons are inevitably lost for transmission, so their efficiency is much lower, and the cost is higher,” one of the authors of the study, a researcher at ITMO University Pavel Voroshilov, explained.
During the study, scientists solved this problem by replacing an opaque electrode with a set of nanotubes and fullerenes, spherical structures of carbon atoms that conduct current as well as metals but remain transparent to light. Russian scientists have found that their properties can be improved by impregnating fullerenes and nanotubes with ionic liquids. In the course of the study, it turned out that the addition of nanostructures and an ionic liquid increased the efficiency of transparent solar panels by about 50 times.