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Imagine solar cells that are fully transparent, and could cover the windows of your building or the screen of your smart phone. Such a technology is one step closer thanks to the development of a fully transparent solar concentrator by a team at Michigan State University, which could act as the basis for a clear photovoltaic solar cell.
Conventional solar cells are necessarily opaque, as they must absorb sunlight (photons) to convert them into electricity in the shape of electrons. Instead, the Michigan State University team uses a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC) that absorbs non-visible wavelengths of sunlight. These are then emitted as infrared light to the edge of the transparent area, where a conventional photovoltaic solar cell converts it into electricity.
Image credit: sj_sanders / flickr