It’s usually undesirable to postpone or abandon an UAV’s in-flight explorations stemming from the jaded power sources. The University of Washington’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) hopes to invigorate those fatigued aircraft with dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). In all probability, the all-potent cells made from organic material could instill Air Forces worldwide with a green hope for the future.
The flexible DSSCs will have a thin glass coating with transparent conductive electrodes and a better capacity to convert photons into synthesized electrons. It accounts for the high photon energy that these solar cells generate. Encouraged by his discovery, Dr. Minoru Taya is utilizing bio-inspired dyes to install DSSCs in the UAV’s wings.
Any airborne energy harvester must satisfy additional requirements, like weight and durability in airborne environments. If those are met, then there may even be longer UAV flight times.
Considering the labor put in, the developments prefigure a future when unmanned Air Force vehicles will be studded with solar cells or a metal grid on the wing surface, which will be more durable and high energy-conversion efficient too.
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