Windows that are solar panels may soon become a reality thanks to a breakthrough in the study of the so-called quantum dots.
Researchers from the Los Alamos national laboratory and the University of Milan-Bicocca synthesised a new generation of quantum dots that they were able to implement in a transparent polymer to capture the sun's energy.
Quantum dots are nanocrystals of semiconductor materials — are already used in systems of solar panels because of their low cost and high mechanical properties, and also used in transistors, LEDs and lasers.
"The key achievement here is to demonstrate large area luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) that use a new generation of specially engineered quantum dots," said Victor Klimov, lead researcher of the Center for advanced solar Photophysics in Los Alamos. "The LSC serves as a light-harvesting lens, which concentrates solar radiation collected from a large area — which increases its power output".
Sunlight pereslushal through the LSC towards a small solar battery at the edge of the transparent panel, which increases its efficiency and can be widely used in future solar cells.
Sergio Brovelli, a researcher from the University of Milan Bicocca, said: "LSCs are especially attractive because in addition to improving efficiency, they can be integrated into new interesting concepts such as photovoltaic Windows that can transform house facades into large local generator of energy."