Eco-Living Magazine

Solar Cells Mimic Natural Processes To Self-Heal: Research Suggests

Posted on the 14 August 2013 by Derick Ajumni
Solar Cells Mimic Natural Processes To Self-Heal: Research Suggests How-To Research:
(The More You-Know)
We all know solar cells heal themselves but how they accomplish this task has not been well understood until now. This research tries to explain exactly how. 
The study was conducted by Orlin D. Velev, Invista Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State and Dr. Hyung-Jun Koo former NC State Ph.D. student; both co-authors of the paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.
"Organic material in dye-sensitized solar cells tend to degrade, so we looked to nature to solve the problem. We considered how the branched network in a leaf maintains water and nutrient levels throughout the leaf. Our micro-channel solar cell design works in a similar way. Photovoltaic cells rendered ineffective by high intensities of ultraviolet rays were regenerated by pumping fresh dye into the channels while cycling the exhausted dye out of the cell. This process restores the device's effectiveness in producing electricity over multiple cycles." Said Professor Velev in a statement (reference). -- The More You-Know
Abstract From This Research Reads:
Light-driven degradation of photoactive molecules could be one of the major obstacles to stable long term operation of organic dye-based solar light harvesting devices. One solution to this problem may be mimicking the regeneration functionality of a plant leaf. We report an organic dye photovoltaic system that has been endowed with such microfluidic regeneration functionality. A hydrogel medium with embedded channels allows rapid and uniform supply of photoactive reagents by a convection-diffusion mechanism. A washing-activation cycle enables reliable replacement of the organic component in a dye-sensitized photovoltaic system. Repetitive restoration of photovoltaic performance after intensive device degradation is demonstrated.
Read Full Article HERE. Image Source

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