In a recent article published in “Nature” magazine, researchers revealed blu-ray discs improve solar cell efficiency, and they could be repurposed to raise solar panel efficiency by 21.8 percent.
The new study found blu-ray discs are the most inexpensive means of boosting solar cells efficiency ever invented. Discs relying on blu-ray technology are equally good at light absorption as the quasi-random pattern technology currently used in solar cell mass production.
Quasi random patterns are the most fitted nanostructure patterns science was able to provide for solar cell creation till now. The first nanostructure patterns used on solar cells were too orderly and thus not being able to absorb the entire solar spectrum. The overall solar spectrum includes wavelengths ranging from 350 to 2,300 nanometers. The orderly nanostructure patterns could absorb a only a single type of solar wavelengths making them expensive and highly inefficient.
Producers have also tried completely random textured patterns in their solar cell technology. But these patterns had a drawback, too – they absorbed useless types of solar light waves. Finally, producers chose to use quasi-random nanostructure patterns for solar cell mass production, although it is a very expensive fabrication method. And being expensive, not everyone can afford being environmental friendly.
The new study found common blu-ray discs improve solar cell efficiency by more than 20%. For their purpose, researchers recycled some blu-rays (one of them was imprinted with Jackie Chan’s Police Story 3: Supercop) to recreate a quasi-random textured pattern that they later used on a solar cell. This new pattern proved 21.8% more efficient in light absorption than any previous pattern. The researchers said it was a big surprise that the experiment worked so well.
By experimenting on a wide range of old discs containing various movies and TV shows, researchers found that it didn’t matter what type of data the blu-ray discs were imprinted with, . They all did equally well their light absorption job. Scientists concluded the blu-ray discs proved superior due to the algorithms used in their encoding process. These algorithms turn data (movies, music etc.) into quasi-random textured patterns that proved so well-suited for capturing light over the entire solar spectrum.
Because blu-ray technology is so common and cheap, researchers hope by using it in solar cell and solar panel mass production to decrease production costs and make it affordable to a much wider range of consumers. Currently, the research team plans to try the blu-ray discs on other types of solar cells besides polymer ones used in the research.