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Revolutionary solar cells: 20 times thinner than a hair, efficiency of 20,1% and power of 44 W/g

14 May 2024 to 17: 46
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energy - solar energy - photovoltaic energy - solar cells - photovoltaic cells - drone
Explore the frontier of technology with quasi-2D perovskite solar cells. Lightweight and high power efficiency for futuristic applications in drones and more

Explore the frontier of technology with quasi-2D perovskite solar cells. Lightweight and high power efficiency for futuristic applications in drones and more

The world of aviation is going through a revolutionary transformation thanks to the development of sustainable technologies. Recently, researchers at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria, took a significant step toward autonomous, green aviation with the creation of ultralight, flexible solar cells that could change the way we generate and use energy.

Researchers have developed quasi-2D perovskite solar cells that are not only extremely lightweight but also offer unprecedented power output of up to 44 watts per gram. Source: JKU

Cutting-edge solar cell technology

At the Department of Soft Materials Physics and the LIT Soft Materials Laboratory, under the leadership of Prof. Martin Kaltenbrunner, and at the Linz Institute for Organic Solar Cells, directed by Prof. Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci, a significant breakthrough has been achieved. Researchers have developed quasi-2D perovskite solar cells that are not only extremely lightweight, but also offer an unprecedented power output of up to 44 watts per gram, along with a comparatively high level of stability.

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These solar cells, with a thickness of less than 2,5 micrometers — twenty times thinner than a human hair — demonstrate an impressive efficiency of 20,1% and a power density of 44 W/g. Their flexibility and light weight make them ideal for a variety of applications, from portable electronics to the Internet of Things, powering the next generation of self-sufficient energy systems.

Solar-powered drones in action

To demonstrate the capabilities of this new technology, researchers equipped a palm-sized commercial quadcopter drone with these ultralight solar cells. Perfectly integrated into the drone's structure, these cells represent only 1/400 of the device's total weight.

This configuration allowed the drone to operate self-sufficiently and perform consecutive charge-flight-charge cycles without the need for recharging with cables, highlighting efficiency and sustainability of solar cells.

Beyond our planet

Perfectly integrated into the drone's structure, these cells represent only 1/400 of the device's total weight. Source: JKU

The potential of these technologies goes beyond Earth. Recently, the Mars “Ingenuity” helicopter demonstrated the importance of self-reliant solar aviation by being the first aircraft to be launched from Earth and land on another planet. Future applications could include search and rescue operations, large-scale mapping, solar power generation in space, and solar system exploration.

The development of quasi-2D perovskite solar cells not only marks a milestone in photovoltaic technology, but also highlights the commitment to sustainable innovation in aviation. Published in the journal Nature Energy, this study not only reflects a technical breakthrough, but also aligns science with global efforts for a greener and more sustainable future. As these technologies develop and improve, the dream of completely self-sufficient and environmentally friendly aviation is getting closer and closer to reality.

Source: www.jku.at

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