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Michigan State University Develops Transparent Solar Technology

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Researchers from Michigan State University say they have created technology that will one day allow windows and even cell phone screens to generate solar power.

The concept is called “transparent luminescent solar concentrator,” which scientists believe will allow entire buildings to produce their own power without being forced to rely on electricity.

The process works by allowing a transparent material to absorb light, which is then sent back out in the form of infrared. Since infrared is invisible, the material remains transparent while generating energy. Similar concepts have been tried, but have created a stained-glass effect that is plainly visible.

“No one wants to sit behind colored glass,” lead researcher Richard Lunt said in a press release, adding that it is like “working in a disco.” The idea behind this concept is to make solar energy available without being reminded that it is being used. “Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there,” he said.

More about this technology can be found in the latest edition of the journal Advanced Optical Materials.

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