New green materials could power smart devices using ambient light
Now, researchers from the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and Soochow University in China have discovered that new green materials currently being developed for next-generation solar panels could be useful for indoor light harvesting. They report their findings in Advanced Energy Materials.
The team investigated perovskite-inspired materials, which were created to circumvent problems with materials called perovskites, which were developed for next-generation solar cells. Although perovskites are cheaper to make than traditional silicon-based solar panels and deliver similar efficiency, perovskites contain toxic lead substances. This drove the development of perovskite-inspired materials, which are instead based on safer elements like bismuth and antimony.
Despite being more environmentally friendly, these perovskite-inspired materials are not as efficient at absorbing sunlight. However, the team found that the materials are much more effective at absorbing indoor light, with efficiencies that are promising for commercial applications. Crucially, the researchers demonstrated that the power provided by these materials under indoor illumination is already sufficient to operate electronic circuits.
In addition to their eco-friendly nature, these materials could potentially be processed onto unconventional substrates such as plastics and fabric, which are incompatible with conventional technologies. Therefore, lead-free perovskite-inspired materials could soon enable battery-free devices for wearables, healthcare monitoring, smart homes, and smart cities.
(Content Courtesy: https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/new-green-materials-could-power-smart-devices-using-ambient-light)