A new nanotech hybrid solar cell developed by Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology and Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, generates electricity from light as well as from sound.
“The best of both worlds” is a common term when it comes to combining two different technologies, such as electric motors and gasoline engines in hybrid vehicles. The same could be said of the combination of thin-film solar panels on the blades of windmills. Combining two technologies with different strengths results in a hybrid device that is more efficient overall. Take, for example, a new hybrid solar cell recently developed in South Korea.
The device is essentially two generators stacked on top of each other, but the whole assembly is just a few hundred nanometers thick. The solar cell layer uses new nanopillar construction, which is currently about 3% efficient converting solar energy into electricity. On top of the nanopillars, a piezoelectric layer is added that develops a 0.8V charge when exposed to noise at 100dB. These numbers may not sound impressive, but with further tweaking of the process and materials, researchers expect to improve on it. The hybrid solar cell could find new uses generating electricity on vehicles of all kinds, both from the sun when present and from the vibrations when the vehicle is in motion.