Solar Panel By Day, Light Panel At Night

light emitting solar panel
Credit: Image courtesy of Nanyang Technological University

Usually, the solar panel used to capture sunlight and convert it into energy is not really that good at emitting light. But researchers have found a material that does just that. This could lead to a future where the smartphone display ( or a tablet one ) can both gather energy from the sun and play video or display images.

Created by researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, the solar cell is not based upon Crystalline silicon.


Unlike most of the conventional solar cells the scientists used Perovskite, a material that not only emits light when electricity is passed through it, but can also be altered to create different colors.

The scientists say that the findings are crucial for developing inexpensive, high-efficiency solar cells in the future.

“What we have found is that because it is a high-grade element, and very robust under light exposure, it can pick up light particles and change them to electricity, or vice versa,” NTU physicist Sum Tze Chien told “By changing the structure of the material, we can make it emit a huge range of colors, which also makes it useful as a light-emitting equipment, such as flat-screen displays.”

The accidental discovery was stumbled upon when Sum asked one of his postdoctoral scientists to point a laser on the Perovskite component. Since most solar cell material is good at capturing, not emitting light, the scientists were amazed when the Perovskite did just that.

Sum’s researcher associate, Nripan Mathews from the School of Materials Science and Engineering and the Energy Research Institute, thinks that the new discovery will inspire the energy industry to adapt the element into existing technologies.

“The phenomenon that it can also radiate light makes it suitable as light decorations or displays for shopping malls and offices,” Mathews stated. “Such a durable, cheap and flexible material would be great for green buildings. Considering the fact that we are already working on the adjusting these materials for large solar cells, it is really simple to modify the procedures to create light-emitting gadgets as well.”


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