Singapore, March 25 (IANS): In a major breakthrough, scientists have developed a low-cost solar cell material which can also emit light, in addition to converting light to electricity.
This solar cell is developed from Perovskite, a promising material that could hold the key to creating high-efficiency, inexpensive solar cells.
The new cells not only glow when electricity passes through them, but they can also be customised to emit different colours.
�What we have discovered is that because it is a high quality material, and very durable under light exposure, it can capture light particles and convert them to electricity, or vice versa,� said Tze Chien Sum, assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.
�By tuning the composition of the material, we can make it emit a wide range of colours, which also makes it suitable as a light emitting device, such as flat screen displays,� he said.
With this discovery, days are not far ahead when a shopping mall facade could be storing solar energy in the day and transforms into a light display for advertisements that glows at night.
The material was discovered almost by chance when professor Sum asked his postdoctoral researcher Xing Guichuan to shine a laser on the new hybrid Perovskite solar cell material they are developing.
This is a significant finding as most solar cell materials are good at absorbing light but are generally not expected to generate light.
It is five times cheaper than current Silicon-based solar cells, the study said.
�Such a versatile yet low-cost material would be a boon for green buildings,� said Nripan Mathews, assistant professor at NTU.
The study appeared in the journal Nature Materials.