Micro Solar Cells Can Fix Yourself The researchers demonstrated tiny solar cells which can repair itself that extends the usage time. These cells use a protein which plants convert sunlight into electrical energy. These cells self-assemble from a mixture of proteins, carbon tubes and other materials are very small. The mechanism of self-improvement is reported in Nature Chemistry can lead to solar cells that can last a long time. The design and development of solar cells is one of the most exciting areas of science, in part because the sun is the most abundant energy source on earth that can be renewed. Moreover, nature has proven that sunlight could be captured and converted into other forms of energy with high efficiency and the level of self-improvement mechanism that compensates the destructive properties of sunlight. "Sunlight is very damaging when wearing oxygen," says Michael Strano, a chemical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who led the research. "That's why we age, and why plastic or paper when exposed to the sun outside the pale." Destructive mixture of sun and oxygen indicate that many of the best solar cells in the laboratory that may not survive well when used, according to Professor Strano explanation reported by BBC News. "There is a race among scientists the world to make the cell with the highest level of efficiency, but very few people have asked what happens to cells when you put it up for a few hours or a few weeks or a few months," he said. Now Professor Strano and colleagues used a photosynthetic reaction center which is one of the natural development of the plant, to increase the time of usage of solar cells. They also use a lipid, a molecule similar pairs walls all living cells, and carbon nano tubes, very small pure carbon known for its electrical properties. The latter they added surfactant, a soap-like molecules of fat that separates certain molecules and keep it separate. A surprise to the researchers, this diverse mix, when the surfactant is pumped out, can self-assemble into solar cells, each measuring only a few nanometers. Lipids in pairs forming discs mounted on nano tube on one side and the reaction centers on the other. Collected light coming in the reaction center, freeing electrons that passed by lipid-lipid and the nanotube. In the photoelectrochemical cell, the electrons can be captured and together produce an electric current. Surfactant added along with some protein to replace damaged by the sun, and the formula is complete. When a surfactant is issued, it assembles pieces back into pure solar cells. Professor Strano says that the efficiency of the cells as it has been designed is only a small portion is provided by the best solar cells today. He said despite huge achievement in efficiency is obtained once the experiment was completed, the idea behind the research is just as important as research in the future. "Our report is useful to start thinking about the tools that can last a lifetime and borrowing concepts provided by nature. Could we make cells that have unlimited time usage?
"Micro Solar Cells Can Fix Yourself"