Solar Cell, Heal Thyself!

Reposted from the 9/3/10 ASEE First Bell.

Synthetic, Self-Assembling Chloroplast Helps Solar Cells Repair Themselves.

Popular Science (9/3, Dillow) reports researchers at MIT think they have developed “a synthetic, self-assembling chloroplast that can be broken down and reassembled repeatedly, restoring solar cells that are damaged by the sun.” The design mimics the way “leaves rapidly recycle their proteins as often as every 45 minutes when in direct summer sunlight,” allowing them to repair themselves. “To recreate this unique regenerative ability, the MIT team devised a novel set of self-assembling molecules that use photons to shake electrons loose in the form of electricity.” The cells currently “work at 40 percent efficiency, and researchers think with some tweaks they could push that efficiency much higher.”

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