Every Color Of The Rainbow Is An Energy Source
We have all enjoyed watching rainbows and at some point wanted to travel to the end of them for those fabled pots of gold. We can make out the distinct seven colors of the rainbows. But what we see as colors are actually different frequencies or energy levels of the sunlight. A solar panel converts some portion of sun light into energy for our use.
The greatest drawback of the solar energy is that solar panels can only capture a fraction of sunlight and only that fraction can be converted into energy. Scientists are trying to use different materials that can trap the maximum energy available from the sun rays and transform it into usable energy. We all hope that disadvantages of the solar panels will be eliminated or minimized in near future.
Scientists at the Ohio State University have blended electrically conductive plastic with metals such as molybdenum and titanium to create the hybrid material for solar panels. They are of the opinion that this new blended material will remove two important obstructions of the solar power. First it will seize all the energy of the visible sunlight. Secondly it will generate electrons in a manner that it will not be difficult to capture them.
This hybrid material works on the same principle as other solar panels do. The material produces electricity when sunlight energizes the atoms of the material, and some of the electrons in those atoms are knocked loose. And the flow of these loose electrons out of solar device results in electric currents. But this is the greatest problem area of a solar panel. Because electrons haven’t left their homes to venture out permanently. They just roam around for a small fraction of a second and go back to the same atoms they have ventured out of initially. If they can’t be seized during that short time when they are wondering free then charge separation will be more difficult. Here this new hybrid material used in the solar panels will play a crucial role. They will keep the electrons free for a longer duration so that charge separation will become comparatively easier.
When the team of scientists were working on new molecular configurations on a computer at the Ohio Supercomputer Center with colleagues at National Taiwan University they found something unusual. The new hybrid material was emitting electrons in two different energy states, singlet and triplet state. Both energy states are useful for solar panels. Singlet state electrons remained free for up to 12 picoseconds which is not unusual. But triplet state elections stayed free for 7 million times longer — up to 83 microseconds, or millionths of a second. When they put triplet electrons in a similar condition such as a solar panel the triplet states lasted even longer: 200 microseconds. This will definitely make charge separation easier.
On practical note the hybrid material for solar panels is not being manufactured on commercial scale but this experiment is a proof of concept — that hybrid solar cell materials such as these can offer unusual properties.