Smartphones of the future can get powered from solar with the invisible solar panels built into the screen of the device. This has been a long dream for many phone users to have their smartphones charged from solar.
Developers have not been successful in charging smartphones from solar because some important materials are lacking. The semiconductor layers are the materials needed to make the solar cell opaque, says Adam Smith of independent. The materials are supposedly responsible for capturing the light from the sun and converting it into an electrical current where smartphones can get powered from solar.
Titanium and nickel oxide: the keys to solar power
Professor Joondong Kim and his colleagues from Incheon National University in South Korea have proposed that either titanium dioxide or nickel oxide could possibly be used. The good thing with Titanium oxide is that its production is both friendly to the environment and is not toxic and yet effective in capturing the invisible ultraviolet light while letting the visible light range pass through it.
Likewise, Nickel oxide has high optical transparency and one that is most abundant on earth and that can be manufactured at a low temperature.
Researchers use a glass substrate for making the solar cell. The glass substrate is a molecule worked upon by an enzyme and a metal electrode, where the titanium and nickel semiconductors were to be placed, finished with a final coating of silver nanowires that acts as the battery cell’s second electrode.
Results were found to be encouraging; more than half of all the visible light passed through the cell, which gives it a transparent effect. With 2.1 percent power conversion efficiency – which is actually high, knowing that the cell only needs a small part of the light spectrum for it to remain invisible.
Still in the early development stage
Although this development is still in an early stage, the results strongly indicate that further development is possible for transparent photovoltaics by means of optimizing the cell’s optical and electrical properties, Professor Kim further said.
The development of having solar as the power source for the smartphone has great benefits to the environment. Instead of just relying on charging cables or wireless charging.
The two of the most dominant smartphone makers, Samsung and Apple have taken steps on removing chargers and headphones from their boxes. They do this as part of the environmental measure.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, an Apple analyst, the future iPhones will come out with no ports. So, it is likely that wireless charging capabilities will replace charging cables currently used by most iPhones, the solar power source technology may not come soon as of yet.
Smartwatches powered from solar
Last year, a range of new smartwatches that use solar power charging was released. This new feature was added so that users don’t keep on charging their smartwatches through charging cables.
What solar charging means is that the battery can get power from the energy coming from the sun. It is not just friendly to the environment but friendly to users as well as they just need to expose their smartphone to get powered from the sun.