Singapore: In a major breakthrough, scientists have developed a low-cost solar cell material which can also emit light, in addition to converting light to electricity.
This solar cell is developed from Perovskite, a promising material that could hold the key to creating high-efficiency, inexpensive solar cells.
The new cells not only glow when electricity passes through them, but they can also be customised to emit different colours.
“What we have discovered is that because it is a high quality material, and very durable under light exposure, it can capture light particles and convert them to electricity, or vice versa,” said Tze Chien Sum, assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.
“By tuning the composition of the material, we can make it emit a wide range of colours, which also makes it suitable as a light emitting device, such as flat screen displays,” he said.
With this discovery, days are not far ahead when a shopping mall facade could be storing solar energy in the day and transforms into a light display for advertisements that glows at night.
The material was discovered almost by chance when professor Sum asked his postdoctoral researcher Xing Guichuan to shine a laser on the new hybrid Perovskite solar cell material they are developing.
This is a significant finding as most solar cell materials are good at absorbing light but are generally not expected to generate light.
It is five times cheaper than current Silicon-based solar cells, the study said.
“Such a versatile yet low-cost material would be a boon for green buildings,” said Nripan Mathews, assistant professor at NTU.
The study appeared in the journal Nature Materials.