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Sun and rain generate electricity in this solar cell

By Paul Grad |

An all-weather solar cell that generates electricity by both sunlight and rain has been developed by researchers led by professor Qunwei Tang from the Institute of Material Science and Engineering at Ocean University of China (Qingdao; http://eweb.ouc.edu.cn) and professor Peizhi Yang from Yunnan Normal University (Kunming, China; www.csc.edu.cn). The researchers developed a highly efficient dye-sensitized solar cell and coated the cell with an extremely thin film of graphene. Graphene conducts electricity and has a large number of electrons that can move freely across the entire graphene layer (delocalized electrons). In aqueous solution, graphene can bind positively charged ions with its electrons, a property used to remove lead ions and organic dyes from solutions. This property inspired the researchers to use graphene electrodes to obtain power from the impact of raindrops. The raindrops contain salts that dissociate into positively and negatively charged ions. The positively charged ions, including sodium, calcium and ammonium ions, can bind to the graphene surface. At the point of contact between the raindrop and the graphene, the water acquires additional positive ions and the graphene acquires additional delocalized electrons.…
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