Startup Innova Dynamics,funded in part by Rho Ventures, has begun to promote a technique itdevised for killing microbes in water pipes in emerging nations as a way of improving the efficiency of solar panels. With Innova Dynamics’technology, solar manufacturers conceivably will be able to embedconductive particles or other materials into a solar panel withoutreducing the ability of the panel to trap light. Performance would goup, in other words, without much of a trade-off.
The transfer from the water industry to the solar world is possiblebecause of the way the technology works. Innova Dynamics has come upwith a liquid carrier and a manufacturing process that softens asubstrate, but then completely evaporates. If the liquid is infused with an active particle, the particle becomes infused into the softenedsubstrate. When the substrate hardens, the particle becomes part of it.Ever wonder how they are able to add sparkles into a custom bowling ball at the pro shop? It’s like that, but a bit more complex.
Infusing particles rather than adding another layer has a few salient advantages. First, the absence of another layer in a solar panel orother device reduces the chances that the additional layer willinterfere with performance. In solar panels, that means particles thatbehave like wires could be introduced without adding another substratethat could block light. In TVs or OLED screens, it means thatmanufacturers could possibly employ this method to embed materials intoscreens without reducing brightness.