What would you do if you could choose the color of your solar cell? Want it to be tinted pink? How about a rainbow of colors? What if you could have a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired stained photo-voltaic (PV) window?
Researchers at Ohio State University have demonstrated yet another example of just how fashionable Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC) can be. For those just joining the conversation, Dyesol is the proclaimed leader in this area of 'third generation' solar cells (follow the link for a review of the technology). A few of the advantages of DSSC is their inexpensive nature, their use of common materials, and the diverse applications and 'add-ons'. Until recently, it was just metal oxides that were used in DSSC. Different dye's or sensitizers have been in research for a few years adding extra efficiencies or cost reductions (and color). This new development out of Ohio adds another layer of opportunity for DSSC development.
"This opens up new possibilities for how scientists may tailor the properties of DSSCs in the future," said Yiying Wu, assistant professor of chemistry at Ohio State.
Wu points out that silicon solar cells tend to look blue because they try to absorb as much green light as possible, which coincides with the strongest part of the solar spectrum. Leaves, (which have been harvesting solar light for billions of years) look green because they absorb at the red and blue ends of the spectrum. What do leaves know that we don't? Artists have long known that light is different around the world. DSSC may be the way we can begin to combine different absorption spectrum, and design, to take advantage of our local conditions, as well as our artistic sensibilities.