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Self-repairing solar cell bio-inspired

9/8/2010 05:23 PM EDT
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pixies
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re: Self-repairing solar cell bio-inspired
pixies   9/8/2010 6:01:26 PM
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A very interesting work. I wonder what is the actual improvement in efficiency after taking into account the energy used in the filtering process and the cost of the materials.

nicolas.mokhoff
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re: Self-repairing solar cell bio-inspired
nicolas.mokhoff   9/8/2010 9:22:02 PM
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Taking examples from Nature to come up with technological solutions is as old as Leonardo da Vinci's time and I'm sure earlier examples can be found. Why reinvent the wheel of naural phenomena; just emulate it. Easier said than done. Keen observation can help. Take the MIT work emulating a bird perching and apply the mechanism to a winged aircraft: http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cmp/eetimes_milaero_20100830/index.php#/40/OnePage

daleste
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re: Self-repairing solar cell bio-inspired
daleste   9/9/2010 1:57:57 AM
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I wonder what else has yet to be learned from nature. What else could we model after natural systems to increase efficiency or functionality of our electronic and mechanical world.

Sanjib.A
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re: Self-repairing solar cell bio-inspired
Sanjib.A   9/9/2010 3:08:10 AM
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This is a pioneer research work! As most of the solar cell manufacturers are struggling to achieve 20-25% efficiency with the existing solar cell technologies, a new idea like this one is an essential need to achieve major breakthrough with the efficiency. Again the idea of self-healing technique mimicking the self-repairing mechanism used by plants is also great. Most of the technological breakthroughs (I believe all) are inspired by nature and there is plenty more to learn yet.

R_Colin_Johnson
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re: Self-repairing solar cell bio-inspired
R_Colin_Johnson   9/9/2010 12:33:10 PM
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Nature has a lot to teach us, but usually we don't listen too closely because our designs are optimized. When evolution makes changes, it usually overlays the new over the old, rather than replace it with an optimized version. The message is that you can't just copy nature, but really need to understand what is going on so that you can mimic the good without copying the unnecessary. That said, I think these researchers are demonstrating that the time it ripe for adding a little complexity to our designs in order to mimic traits like self-healing.

Warren3
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re: Self-repairing solar cell bio-inspired
Warren3   9/9/2010 6:19:15 PM
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I think you are targeting the heart of the matter in looking for the BOM cost and "true" efficiency (and survivability) of the solution; that indeed will be interesting... but/and as noted by Sanjib below, if 40% efficiency is affordably available it sounds like a real breakthrough.

Warren3
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re: Self-repairing solar cell bio-inspired
Warren3   9/9/2010 6:23:01 PM
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Sure enough Nic... but can you think of a lot of examples of bio-functional mimicry along these lines? it does seem pretty cool (and modern) to me anyway.

R_Colin_Johnson
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re: Self-repairing solar cell bio-inspired
R_Colin_Johnson   9/9/2010 6:32:08 PM
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These researchers claim that by making their solution more concentrated, they can boost efficiency much much further, but this is still lab work. We will have to wait and see what kind of efficiency a commercial version can yield.

Sanjib.A
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re: Self-repairing solar cell bio-inspired
Sanjib.A   9/9/2010 6:40:14 PM
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree with what you and Nic_Mokhoff shared about "listening closely" / "keen observation" for applying the learning from the nature. Wish to see this research taking concrete shape in the near future. I was also going though an article on the same topic published in the link below : http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39058522/ns/technology_and_science-green_innovation/ The article says (towards the end) that the initial efficiency of this new solar cell is less compared to the current commercial solar panels? How do you interpret that information?

R_Colin_Johnson
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re: Self-repairing solar cell bio-inspired
R_Colin_Johnson   9/9/2010 6:57:25 PM
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The 40 percent figure was calculated from the chemistry of the reactions, whereas the solution tested was relatively dilute. By improving the chemistry and making the solution more concentrated, they hope to outperform solid-state solar cells.

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