Invisible light converts to +30% electricity

infrared, solar, electricity, renewables, US, smart grid, university

Applications of the research include more energy-efficient lighting and photodetectors with 200 percent efficiency that can be used for night vision.

Chemists at the University of California (UCR) have developed a material that uses infrared light to convert it to visible light.

This allows solar panels to generate 30 percent more electricity.

About half of the energy in sunlight is stored in infrared light. This invisible part of the spectrum does give off heat but is not powerful enough to shoot loose electrons into solar panels.

“The infrared is just going through a solar cell,” says Christopher Bardeen, chemistry professor at UCR. “We have developed a material that captures infrared light and emits visible light. Than it can be converted into renewable power by an ordinary solar panel.”

1->2 conversion process

Bardeen and his colleagues are working with the minerals lead and cadmium selenite and various organic components. The hybrid structure converts the invisible infrared into visible light orange.

The minerals absorb in the infrared, and the organic molecules, the energy use in the material to visible light having a higher energy level to send out.

For every two infrared light particles gives the material a yellow or orange light particle back. This brings a greater portion of the light spectrum available for the production of solar power. The researchers predict that solar panels with the same surface about a third more renewable electricity can generate.

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