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New type of solar cell for rainy days
- Jun 29, 2018 -

Cloudy, rainy weather often affects the amount of electricity generated by solar cells. By attaching a transparent nano-generator to solar cells, a Chinese research team has recently developed a device that can generate electricity using raindrops when it rains.

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Researchers Sun Xuhui and Sun Bao of the Institute of Functional Nano and Soft Matter of Soochow University in China reported in the latest issue of the American Chemical Society Nano Magazine that the hybrid device consists of a traditional silicon-based solar cell and a “frictional nanopower "The machine", which can convert the mechanical energy that drops raindrops into electrical energy.

“Friction Nanogenerators” was first proposed by Prof. Wang Zhonglin’s team at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States. Previous studies have shown that these two types of equipment can be connected together by an external wiring. In this new design, solar cells and "frictional nanogenerators" are integrated into one body through a common electrode. Researchers believe that this design is simpler and greatly improves output efficiency.

The researchers used a high-conductivity polymer aqueous polymer solution to make the device's common electrode film. Wen Zhen, the first author of the paper, told the reporter that when the raindrops fall, the water droplets are triboelectrically charged with the “frictional nanogenerator” acting as a friction layer, and the common electrode film is used as a charge-sensitive layer to induce and derive charges.

Wen Zhen said that because the friction layer is transparent, it will hardly affect the incident sunlight, so it will not affect the normal operation of the solar cell itself. When it rains, it can also collect the kinetic energy of falling rain, expanding the scope of energy collection, in the existing large-scale application of silicon-based solar cells, there is a good application prospects.