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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Transparent solar collectors may replace conventional windows

•, By Colin Jeffrey
The new devices ? dubbed transparent luminescent solar concentrators ? have the potential to not only turn windows into solar electric generators, but the screens of smartphones, vehicle glazing, and almost anything else that has a see-through surface.

Experiments with transparent solar collectors have been conducted for quite some time now, but they have resulted in variable success and many poor results ? particularly around the inefficient production of energy. More to the point, most of the produced materials weren't completely transparent, rather being brightly-colored or too darkly tinted.

"No one wants to sit behind colored glass," said Richard Lunt, assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science at MSU. "It makes for a very colorful environment, like working in a disco. We take an approach where we actually make the luminescent active layer itself transparent."

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