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Light-emitting glass created by Russian scientists to enhance solar panel efficiency

August 16, 2016, 23:51 UTC+3

Physicists have developed an optical luminescent glass that emits visible light under ultraviolet radiation

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LED light production, archive

LED light production, archive

© Dmitry Rogulin, TASS

MOSCOW, August 16. /TASS/. Physicists from the University of Informational Technologies, Mechanics, and Optics (ITMO) have made an optical luminescent glass that emits visible light under ultraviolet radiation, as reported by the press service of ITMO.

Scientists believe that the new glass can find applications in the solar energetics and LED (light emitting diodes) production. The study has been published in the Journal of Luminescence.

Ultraviolet light and dust reduce the performance of silicon solar cells. To protect cells against these negative factors, special glass screens is used. If the panel is covered not with ordinary glass but luminescent one which emits light upon absorbing ultraviolet radiation, it will not only protect cells from mechanical impurities but also significantly improve energy production through converted UV light.

Scientists suggest utilizing the newly-introduced glass for durable LED fabrication. Such LEDs do not require yellow luminophore coating used in modern LED devices for white light production. Therefore, there is no need to renovate the lamp coating, the diodes will be cheaper and can operate within a longer time period.

In order to make the glass emit light under ultraviolet radiation, it is necessary to introduce silver ions in it. To do so, the glass is immersed in a molten silver salt at 320o Celsius, and the silver ions become embedded into the glass replacing sodium ions. The same technology of ion exchange is widely used to manufacture toughened glass for smartphones (e.g. Gorilla Glass) or for the strengthening of champagne bottles. But instead of silver, these applications rely on potassium ions.

The researchers have already reported the efficiency of UV to white light conversion to be 30%.

As the next goal, the doubling of the efficiency of new LEDs is scheduled.

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