Windows that double as solar panels could soon be a reality following a breakthrough in quantum dot research that could have significant implications on the way the sun's energy is harvested in the future.
Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Milano-Bicocca synthesised a new generation of quantum dots that they were able to embed in a transparent polymer to capture the sun's energy.
Quantum dots – nanocrystals made of semiconductor materials – are already used in solar panel systems due to their low-cost and mechanical properties, as well as transistors, LEDs and lasers.
"The key accomplishment is the demonstration of large-area luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) that use a new generation of specially engineered quantum dots," said Victor Klimov, lead researcher at the Centre of Advanced Solar Photophysics at Los Alamos.
The findings, published in Nature Photonics, demonstrate how a slab of transparent LSC material is able to capture and transport light energy through quantum dots.
Written By: Anthony Cuthbertson
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