Researchers at the University of Minnesota and the University of Milano-Bicocca have discovered a very effective ‘and common source of matter that could easily be used in creating energy collecting windows and many other handy materials that could be available to everyone in their house, work or even cars.

Collecting solar energy

The idea of collecting the energy coming from sunlight has been available for many years, and it has gained so much attention in recent year by governments all over the world seeking cheap and harmless energy sources.

Solar panels that collect Solar Energy are currently very common throughout the world, but scientists have been trying for years to make use of solar energy everywhere, starting with houses and companies and even ending with cars.

Solar collecting silicon glass

A good way to do so is to make glass that is capable of collecting solar energy, but there has never been a good material that could be used in creating such glass without ruining many of its uses and aesthetic appearance, which are of course needed in glass manufacturing.

The researchers have discovered a way to convert silicon made glass into efficient luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs), which is a material capable of trapping photons of light at the edges of the material where tiny solar cells could be located to convert sunlight into usable energy.

"In our lab, we 'trick' nature by shirking the dimension of silicon crystals to a few nanometers, that is about one ten-thousandths of the diameter of human hair," said professor Uwe Kortshagen, one of the senior authors of the study.

"At this size, silicon's properties change and it becomes an efficient light emitter, with the important property not to re-absorb its own luminescence. This is the key feature that makes silicon nanoparticles ideally suited for LSC applications."


Such a discovery could revolutionize the solar energy industry, it could literally be included in our houses and it could be a source of ‘’free’’ energy for everyone.