Solar cells are fans of pop music.
London researchers Dr. Steve Dunn of Queen Mary University and James Durrant of Imperial College have released a study on solar cell materials. Solar cells are traditionally silicon based. The material is expensive and hard to work with, so Dunn and Durrant experimented with zinc oxide, a cheap yet inefficient material.
Zinc oxide has tiny rods that vibrate in response to mechanical stress, creating an electric field. Sound can provide the necessary vibration to get this going.
Dunn said they tested this “with various types of music, including pop, rock and classical“.
Rock and pop music were the most effective, which might be attributed to their range of frequencies.
They then used a signal generator to emit ambient noise. This caused the cells to become 50 percent more efficient. Zinc oxide’s efficiency rose from 1.2 percent to a whopping 1.8 percent.
This could come in handy when solar cells are used in noisy public places.
Image by AmericanSolarChallenge, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)