Ever since the first photovoltaic cell in 1954 by Bell Labs, the basic principle behind the technology stayed the same. Exploiting the photoelectric effect, first explained by Einstein in his miracle year of 1905, a light-particle can kick out an electron of a material if it has just the right energy. Through the smart combining of two types of semiconductors, this electron leads to a current in the material, which in the end can be used. Now while over the decades the efficiency of photovoltaics increased a lot, they still rely on the same principle and we only found better materials or ways of engineering.
However, Jacinto Sá, Professor of Physical Chemistry at Uppsala University Sweden and CTO of startup Peafowl Solar power has found another way, which is seemingly independent of the incoming light frequency and can be used for transparent solar cells. The resulting material relies on so-called Plasmonics, is only 300nm thin and can be used to power and recharge small devices or dynamic glass.
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