News Brief

"Solar Leaf" Prototype Can Produce Electricity

A new kind of solar cell, inspired by the process of photosynthesis in plants, has been developed by scientists at North Carolina State University. Hyung-Jun Koo, Orlin Velev, and others have impregnated a water-based gel with photosensitive molecules that produce electricity when exposed to sunlight. The gel is enclosed within two electrodes and embedded with two photosensitive ionic dyes. Two common plant compounds (including chlorophyll) are also included. This combination can generate as much or more electricity as other photovoltaic (PV) technologies that seek to mimic photosynthesis, and it could become a cheaper, less environmentally harmful alternative to silicon solar cells. The water-based gel is made with agarose, a natural polysaccharide. The hydrogel PV device is a prototype; further development is required to create an efficient, durable artificial “leaf.”

Published October 29, 2010

Emily, C. (2010, October 29). "Solar Leaf" Prototype Can Produce Electricity. Retrieved from

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