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The energy crisis has always been a common topic, and the development of new renewable energy and the improvement of energy utilization are the long-term plans for production and development. Among them, the development of solar energy has attracted the attention of global researchers, because it is taken from the sun and inexhaustible. However, the conversion efficiency of solar energy into electrical energy or chemical energy has always been criticized and a major bottleneck for development of solar energy.
Studying solar cells is inseparable from semiconductors. Generally speaking, the more transparent the color of the semiconductors is, then the better the conductivity and the performance of the semiconductor will be. There are some transparent materials in our lives like glass, plastic, semiconductors (silicon dioxide and titanium dioxide.), etc. However, the materials that are both transparent and electrically conductive are very rare. These two have not been able to combine perfectly until tin dioxide are discovered by scientists. Recently, researchers have discovered that tin dioxide, a material with both transparency and good electrical conductivity, is an excellent semiconductor material.
Mobility is an important indicator to measure the performance of semiconductors, and it is closely related to the moving speed of electrons inside a substance. Tin and oxygen in tin dioxide are combined by ionic bonding. The researchers found that the electron mobility in the tin dioxide film is very high. Such a high mobility allows tin dioxide to have both conductive and transparent properties. Semiconductors are the basis for manufacturing computer chips and solar panels. It is reported that the development of this material will be applied to next-generation LED lights, Photovoltaic solar panels or touch-sensitive display technology.
In fact, tin dioxide has been used in industry since 1960, including gas sensors and transparent electrodes for solar devices. The high mobility of electrons in tin dioxide makes it an essential material for these applications. Higher the mobility of electrons would be better for most applications. But the only drawback is that tin dioxide only exhibits such a high electron mobility in bulk crystals. The researchers said that tin dioxide exhibited the highest mobility in the film.
For tin dioxide, increasing the mobility can not only improve the conductivity of the material, but also improve the transparency of the material. The more transparent the semiconductor is, the more light it transmits. Based on this, applying it to solar cells is the most appropriate. Researchers made tin dioxide into a thin film and found that the wavelength band that this thin film can transmit includes visible light and near infrared light (the main concentration area of solar energy), which has great benefits for the conversion rate of Photovoltaic solar panels.
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