Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The power of excitonic solar cells: Your windowpanes could light up your home, save you on electricity bills

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Imagine lighting up your living room using just 1.5
volts of electricity or the windowpanes of your home generating enough
electricity to meet the power needs of your family. This is going to
be a reality soon thanks to the revolutionary research in luminescence
technology currently under development at the city-based Indian
Institute of Chemical Technology.

Scientists at the IICT have achieved an efficiency of 11 per cent and
research is on to improve the durability of the product to 10 years.
The technology is likely to be available for commercial use in the
next three years. There will be a saving of more than 50 per cent on
domestic electricity bills. It can also be used for lighting
streetlights.

“We had a target of achieving 10 per cent but we achieved 11 per cent
efficiency. The highest efficiency one can achieve is 33 per cent,
which is at present quite difficult. We are working to improve the
durability of the product to 10 years to make it more economical,”
said Dr L Giribabu, scientist at the IICT’s nanomaterials laboratory.

IICT is one of the few research bodies in the world to conduct
research on excitonic solar cells, dye-based solar cells and organic
based solar cells. The Central government has sanctioned about Rs 100
crore for research on luminescence technology, which can be used for
development of organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). Excitonic solar
cells are a class of non-conventional solar cells based on organic and
nanostructured materials.

Dr Giribabu was speaking on the sidelines of the four-day 4th
international conference on luminescence and its applications,
organised by Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies, IICT,
Society for Information Display and Luminescence Society of India,
here on Tuesday. Around 350 experts in light technology from different
parts of the world are attending the event.

Prof K Somaiah of RGUKT said India has been in the forefront of
luminescence technology and scientists from around the world visit the
country to update their research knowledge. “Imagine painting your bed
with an OLED and it lights up your bed room. This technology is also
used in TV sets. A 52 inch TV can be folded up and hung on a wall
anywhere,” he added.

Luminescence and luminescent materials now increasingly find important
applications in display devices, radiation monitoring, lighting
devices, medical applications like detection of cancerous parts in
human body and drug delivery, solar radiation harvesters and infrared
lasers for military needs.

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