- R&D 100 Awards
Windows that double as solar-energy panels could be just around the corner, thanks to the development of Quantum-Dot Solar Windows by collaborators at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Italy’s University of Milano-Bicocca. Not only can these new solar windows serve as high-efficiency, large-area collectors of sunlight, they also can provide a desired degree of shading/coloring and produce either increased or decreased solar gains, depending on a building’s specific needs. Advantages of quantum-dot solar windows over other types of devices include similar function as a result of color-neutral appearance, much greater flexibility in controlling transparency level, and high-efficiency sunlight harvesting now achievable in large-area devices. The windows also use toxic-element-free quantum-dot materials easily fabricated and processed into devices using inexpensive solution-based methods. The technology is in essence a next-generation “light harvester,” taking in sunlight from the sun and generating electricity from it.