Photonics Focus Magazine Vol. 2 Issue 4

July/August 2021 | Vol. 2 | Issue 4

The imperative for solar research is obvious, and the pages of this issue of Photonics Focus should remind us how much scientific progress has been made in a short time.

Solar cell efficiency has increased from six percent in 1954 to a useful 25 percent today. Photovoltaic (PV) panels have become affordable and ubiquitous. And yet, researchers keep finding ways to improve them through new materials, designs, and construction methods. Innovative companies are laminating quantum dots into window glass to create transparent photovoltaics, which will increase the surface area of buildings available to harness sunlight for conversion to usable energy.

Other researchers are looking to water as a source of renewable energy: artificial photosynthesis remains tantalizingly close, and yet so far away.

Select articles are available online, but the complete issue is available for download as a PDF.

Despite intensive research, we can’t yet reliably or cheaply convert sunlight into energy-dense fuel. But the goal is in sight.
Will artificial photosynthesis ever see the  light of day?
Tiny engineered nanocrystals may give windows renewed purpose
A billion windows on quantum dots
Renewable energy microgrids can provide sustainable power in remote communities as well as critical backup in areas where the power grid may be threatened by climate change
Off the grid
About Photonics Focus

Launched in 2020, Photonics Focus® is the award-winning society magazine of SPIE. Articles showcase scientific discovery and innovative real-world applications of optics and photonics.

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