National Laboratory Scales Up Quantum-dot Solar Project

Jon Capistrano
Jon Capistrano
October 20, 2016

Just imagine a future where a building’s energy comes from its windows. Wouldn’t it be wonderful?

Many scientists and experts have worked towards that future in the lab. But now, 5 scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory have demonstrated solar window technology can indeed be scaled up. Instead of palm-sized prototypes and models, they created the solar window that is large enough to power entire buildings as reported by Inhabitat. 

LSCs or luminescent solar concentrators are a crucial component of the team’s solar windows as stated by the National laboratory. LSCs can collect sunlight over large areas and function and function as light management devices. It collects sunshine through the colloidal quantum dot, which have beneficial properties like the ability to withstand light hitting them over and over. Colloidal quantum dots have a high photostability, which means sunlight won’t wear them down.

Flourophores in the LSCs also help the windows do their job. After light is collected, the chemical compounds re-emit photons. Photovolatic cells can collect the photos after they are guided to the cells through total internal reflection.

The research team utilised a doctor-blade technique to create the LSC windows. This technique is often used in printing in removing excess ink and leave behind a uniform film. The scientist drew on printing technique in adding a thin and uniform layer of dot/polymer composite on large glass slabs that could be installed to buildings. Lead scientist Victor Klimov said the solar windows could convert presently passive building facades into power generation units.

The details of the research were published online by Nature Energy and the scientists hope the use of LSCs can bring down solar power costs. Their solar windows will not likely need as many expensive PV materials as compared to other solar modules. The team also noted solar windows would be very beneficial for urban spaces.

Click here to read the story on Inhabitat

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