In a new study, researchers make a step toward running electronic devices in homes and offices with light from lamps scattered around the room.
The team developed special light harvesters optimized to produce energy from ambient indoor lighting. The light harvesters are like those used for solar power.
Electronic gadgets are becoming indispensable.
Recent studies showed that smart thermostats can learn when to turn up the heat, sensors set off alarms when windows are opened, and cell phones keep people connected.
In the coming Internet of Things, more such items will be connected wirelessly to the internet.
These items can communicate with each other and perform their functions in everyday life.
Most of these gadgets run on batteries. Batteries power most of the devices, and even some cars.
One bad thing about the battery is that it needs to be replaced and can be bulky.
Solar power is a possible solution, but the sun doesn’t always shine when devices need to work.
In the study, the team focused on artificial room lighting.
This type of lighting is all around — in homes, schools, offices, stores — and can be controlled on demand.
To put room lighting to work, the researchers turned to organic photovoltaics (OPVs), which are light, flexible and transparent.
To determine the best configuration for OPVs, they tested small-molecule organic semiconductors that may have promising characteristics for harvesting ambient light.
They found OPVs based on the small molecule called BDT-2T-ID worked better than other similar devices, even than one based on silicon solar technology.
In the study, the team found a set of six of these devices connected in series could produce about 4 volts under dim illumination to power microsensors.
They believe it could someday be a viable way to power wireless devices throughout a room.
Future work needs to be done to scale up the technology, according to the researchers.
The researchers of the study include Ryota Arai, Takuma Yasuda, and colleagues.
The study is reported in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
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