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PV battery potential... need help coming up with experiment

  1. Feb 13, 2016 #1
    Hello there everybody
    In my research group we've been working on PV cells and exploring non-conventional techniques to try and raise the efficiency of some of the lesser explored materials that have PV potential.
    Well, last week while testing one of our cells in a solar simulator, we noticed that after we turned the light off, instead of flatlining to zero electrons released, it instead seemed to exponentially decay.... as a charged battery would....
    This was extremely exciting and we've decided to follow up this phenomenon with a series of testing to try and narrow down the exact elements and compounds causing this.

    I was posting to ask people if they had any ideas how to test a cells battery capabilities. We've talked about it amongst ourselves and haven't come up with anything other than the solar simulator and the cell connected to a voltmeter, same procedure as testing a normal PV cell. I was hoping somebody might have another idea that was really targeted at the battery aspect of it.

    Hope to hear from someone :)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 13, 2016 #2

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    Maybe it just had a high capacitance. What was the load? Have you measured the capacitance of the cell?
     
  4. Feb 15, 2016 #3
    It may appear as capacitance but I'm pretty sure that a capacitor does not create it's own electricity... this has an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte. When photons hit it, it releases electrons and those are being stored somewhere. Maybe it acts like a capacitor but as an entire unit, it's technically more of a battery. Don't you think?
     
  5. Feb 15, 2016 #4

    berkeman

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    Interesting. It could be either, I guess. Do you have technical help with figuring out the chemistry that is going on?
     
  6. Mar 8, 2016 #5
    This is not enough info to establish if it the observed phenomena is indeed stored charges in an electric field (capacitance) or a simple "fluke". As you stated you need tests to establish that, one good way to go about it is to have a cycler. It would also help if we know what your electrodes are.
    There is a test that I ran a while ago, which would shine a light for 30 secs, turn it off for 30 seconds and turn it on again and so on for many cycles. All the while the cycler would monitor the cell's capacity and voltage and spits out voltage discharge profiles. This would be very helpful in your case, since "odd" behaviors tend to correct themselves after the first ten cycles or so. Keep in mind that all other elements need to be fixed: I.e. strictly adhere to a known, fixed testing environment vis a vis pressure, humidity and temperature and be absolutely certain that no other light source besides the charging one is visible by your cell.
    One you've established that the phenomenon you've observed is reproducible, then try varying the intensity of the light, and so one, however you do need a solid baseline for any test that you run.
     
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