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Playing Pop Music to Solar Cells Boosts Their Efficiency, Researchers Find


mg22029424.600-1_300Many have been trying to boost efficiency of solar cells, developing and discovering new technologies that often seem too optimistic and quite adventurous.

One such example comes from British scientists at the Queen Mary University and Imperial College London. They found out that some solar cells produce much more electricity if music is played to them- but it should be up-beat pop or rock, not classical.

Steve Dunn and James Durrant decided to explore ways to improve the efficiency of flexible films made of zinc oxide, which could potentially replace the expensive silicon-based solar cells. The scientists focused on the nanoscale rods of the zinc oxide, and observed that they move and generate an electric field, when they are under a mechanical stress.

Exactly this property of the material inspired the team to produce mechanical stress by playing different types of music in order to produce vibrations. Dunn and Durrant used a signal generator, which gave precise sounds, and allowed the scientists to determine the range of frequencies that can improve the efficiency of the material the most. The winners were pop and rock music, which caused the incredible 50% increase in efficiency. According to the team, the reason for this is the wide range of frequencies that characterize these tunes.

Unfortunately, the trick does not work on conventional and widely available silicon-based solar cells, but it definitely encourages the development of new technology based on zinc oxides, which can be fitted near busy roads, noisy public places, or on top of air-conditioning systems. There are many places where noise pollution is something that people get used to rather than try to minimize, so why not use it to produce electricity?

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