This is a fantastic example of research breakthrough that we need. We have been relying too long on the premise of building the "perfect" electronics. Future lies in building technology that is not perfect, can correct itself, can re-built itself etc. Cudos to MIT researchers...Kris
On 6th, IMEC reports an efficiency improvement - http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4207381/IMEC-reports-solar-cells. 2 days later, the news of self-healing solar comes. These news are good to the society. I am very interested in understanding the efficiency of the self healing solar cell. In addition, anyone knows the life cycle of the self healing solar cell compared to that of the in-organic solar cell.
IF we go by this trend of research of emulating the nature, no wonder one fine day we may find the Solar panel farms in the real agricultural sense ,where, the farmers will grow plants not for harvesting the crops but for generating energy! By our advanced technological research we are truly moving close to the nature! Finally the God Nature has the most advanced technology!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.