February, 17, 2021 :

New generation solar cell, making wireless communication possible on the open sky

DGIST/KAIST (Seoul National University and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)

DGIST, the world leading technological research center, announced this week that it has succeeded in achieving the world’s first ultra-thin, on-demand solar cells for wireless communication. The research team successfully combined thin and light solar cells, which are the foundation for wireless communication, with the image processing of the ultra-thin solar cells and developed a novel photoelectric communication circuit with a solar cell surface area of less than 1 mm2, with a communication range of up to five meters.

The new solar cell design is more compact than existing thin and light solar cells, and is more efficient in converting sunlight into electricity.

It is said that the huge solar power potentials of the open sky can be used to transmit wireless signals, as the energy it receives from the sunlight reaches its greatest density and power when the sun shines directly above the Earth. However, there are problems such as sunlight glare and low efficiency, which restrict the use of open sky for wireless communication. This is the new solar cell’s breakthrough.

One drawback of the traditional, thin and light solar cells is that sunlight appears to be a continuous and homogeneous source of power, not focusing on a specific direction. This is because light is reflected from various surfaces in the solar cell, which causes the solar cell to be inefficient. In contrast, the research team has invented an on-demand solar cell, which allows light to reflect off a specific surface, and emit light that it receives back to the light source, becoming a better solar cell for wireless communication.

By using this new solar cell design, it is possible to make wireless communication possible on the open sky.

The photoelectric communication circuit developed by the team enabled the transmission of data from a wireless communication point on the other side of the Earth’s surface, to a transmission tower and back again. In other words, it can transfer data between two distant points as if they are in the same location.

The circuits used in the solar cells have been made by integrating an image-processing circuit into a solar cell substrate. As the image processing circuit enhances the reflected light through modification, it becomes possible to transfer a large amount of data without the need to move the communication point physically closer to the transmission tower.

Wireless communication can become a reality on the open sky when a solar cell and an image-processing circuit are combined with ultra-thin photovoltaic cells. Such solar cells are produced by low-temperature doping of certain semiconductors, which makes the solar cell extremely thin. The research team will carry out a long-term research in collaboration with the Ministry of Knowledge Economy to advance the technology.

Associated links Press release from DGIST Email this page to a friend Keywords associated to this article: solar cells, wireless communication, solar cell, photovoltaic cells, thin solar cell