Mr. Data is Going to Help Rescue the Environment

November 10, 2020

For fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 1990s series, no introduction is required.  For those of us who don’t know or don’t care, Mr. Data was the popular android AI who was an officer on the crew of the Enterprise.

3D printing of solar cells may one day be possible
Scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science used machine learning to predict the power-conversion efficiency (PCE) of materials that can be used in next-gen solar cells including 'virtual' compounds that don't even exist yet.

Organic not silicon-based
Solar cells have been made with silicon for decades, which is expensive.  On the other hand, organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar cells are potentially cheaper to make by using printing technologies.  Not to mention that OPVs are much more versatile and don’t clog up landfills.

The challenge has always been sorting through the massive number of potentially suitable chemical compounds that can be synthesized for use in OPVs, and that’s where the machine learning breakthrough comes in. 

This is a step in the right direction using a machine learning model that is not computationally expensive as well as materials that are readily available.  Want to learn more?  Check out this article with the hard science behind OPVs.

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