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Researchers at IRIG are developing dye-based solar cells. They have just produced a photochromic cell that darkens when illuminated, but faithfully reproduces colors. This phenomenon is reversible and paves the way for applications in the field of glazing with dynamic optical properties.
Since the 1990s, alternative photovoltaic technologies to silicon have been developed for a wide range of applications in buildings, transport and greenhouse agriculture. Researchers at Irig are developing dye-based solar cells. They have produced a photochromic cell that darkens when illuminated but still reproduces colors. As this phenomenon is reversible, it opens the door to applications in the field of glazing with dynamic optical properties.
Researchers at IRIG have developed and characterized solar cells based on carbazole-substituted photochromic dyes from the diphenyl-naphthopyran family. Compared to the diphenylamine-substituted reference dye, these new dyes show improved color rendering in the visible spectrum, broad absorption and faster fading kinetics. The results show yields of up to 3%. In addition, the researchers fabricated a semi-transparent solar mini-module with an active area of 14 cm2, whose transparency varies from 66% to 50% and produces a power of 14 mW. The color rendering index is greater than 95, whatever the colouring state of coloration of the cells (see Figure).
These results demonstrate that molecular engineering of photochromic photosensitizers is a relevant strategy for the development of semi-transparent solar cells with dynamic optical properties. It is now possible to design transparent solar cells that can change color, and whose light transmittance is self-adaptative to light conditions, while ensuring the visual comfort for users.
Fauvel S, Riquelme A, Andrés Castán J-M, Mwalukuku V, Kervella Y, Kumar Challuri V, Sauvage F, Narbey S, Maldivi P, Aumaître C and Demadrille R
Push-pull photochromic dyes for semi-transparent solar cells with light-adjustable optical properties and high color-rendering index
Chemical Science 2023
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.