A hybrid solar cell that can generate power from raindrops as well as sunlight offers a promising approach to Schematic of the hybrid solar cell/TENG device. Source: Soochow UniversitySchematic of the hybrid solar cell/TENG device. Source: Soochow Universityharness solar energy during sub-optimal weather conditions. The system combines a heterojunction silicon solar cell and a triboelectric generator (TENG).

Researchers from Soochow University, China built the single-electrode-mode water-drop TENG on the solar cell by integrating imprinted polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) as a triboelectric material combined with a PEDOT:PSS layer as an electrode. The increased contact area between the imprinted PDMS and water drops greatly improves the output of the TENG with a peak short-circuit current of ∼33.0 nA and a peak open-circuit voltage of ∼2.14 V,\.

The textured PEDOT:PSS layer was sandwiched between the two devices and conducted energy from the TENG to the cell, which could still generate energy from sunlight due to the transparency of the polymers.

The researchers say this simple design demonstrates a new concept in energy harvesting during various weather conditions.

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