by Kelley Bergman
April 03, 2017
from PreventDisease Website
Current solar cell on panels widely distributed to retailers offer a maximum of 16-25 percent efficiency rate.
The best examples
of traditional silicon solar cells top out at around
25 percent efficiency, whereas
multi-junction cells have achieved more than
But the graphene-based prototype also opens a new path to the development of flexible thin film all-in-one solar capture and storage, bringing us one step closer to self-powering smart phones, laptops, cars and buildings.
The new electrode is designed to work with supercapacitors, which can charge and discharge power much faster than conventional batteries. Supercapacitors have been combined with solar, but their wider use as a storage solution is restricted because of their limited capacity.
RMIT's Professor Min Gu said the new design drew on nature's own genius solution to the challenge of filling a space in the most efficient way possible - through intricate self-repeating patterns known as "fractals".
Combined with supercapacitors, the fractal-enabled laser-reduced graphene electrodes can hold the stored charge for longer, with minimal leakage.
The fractal design reflected the self-repeating shape of the veins of the western swordfern, Polystichum munitum, native to western North America.
Lead author, PhD researcher Litty Thekkekara, said because the prototype was based on flexible thin film technology, its potential applications were countless.