A material commonly used in solar panels has been found to repair itself when damaged – and scientists think this ability could be vital for the future of clean energy.
The substance, called antimony selenide, is what’s known as a solar absorber material. This means it can be used to harness solar energy and convert this power into electricity.
The team at the University of York, UK who made the discovery are now looking at how this technology could be used to create longer-lasting solar panels, which could potentially ‘self-heal’ when damaged.
One of the biggest hindrances to progress in this type of technology is the reliability and longevity of cells. Currently, solar panels have an average lifespan of between 25-30 years, so developing technology which can repair itself could be a crucial breakthrough.
Antimony selenide’s surprising self-healing capability is similar to when a starfish or reptile regrows a limb after an accident, explains Professor Keith McKenna who led the research.
“The process by which this semi-conducting material self-heals is rather like how a salamander is able to re-grow limbs when one is severed,” he says. “Antimony selenide repairs broken bonds created when it is cleaved by forming new ones.
Article Credit: MSN News