Researchers from ITMO University have developed optical luminescent glass that has the ability to improve the efficiency and lifetime of solar cells.

The glass possesses a property of emitting visible light under ultraviolet radiation, which normally negatively affects solar cells.

The luminescent glass can protect the solar panel from ultraviolet light and dust that reduce the performance of silicon solar cells.

The optical material, which is developed in the International Laboratory of Modern Photonic Materials and Technologies at ITMO University, absorbs ultraviolet radiation and converts it into visible light.

The trapped ultraviolet radiation by the glass will be useful to charge the panel.

Modern Photonic Materials and Technologies International laboratory associate and lead author of the research work Yevgeniy Sgibnev said: “We have managed to increase the efficiency of ultraviolet conversion in the glass up to 30%, which is comparable with the front-end research in this field.

“Even more, we are already optimizing the technology and planning to raise the quantum yield twice. The glass with such properties can find solid application.”

The university scientists said that the manufacture of the white LEDs by using the new luminescent glass will be a significant step forward in the production processes of light equipment.

Research Institute for Nanophotonics and Optoinformatics director Nikolay Nikonorov said: “Now the LEDs require replacement every six months, but produced by our technology, they will live ten times longer; this will significantly cut the costs of lighting replacement.”

Nikonorov is also the head of Chair of Optoinformatic Technologies and Materials at ITMO University.

The newly developed glass can also withstand high temperatures and adverse weather conditions, according to the researchers.

The new glass is manufactured at 1500o Celsius and then shaped. Silver ions are introduced in making the glass in order to enable it emit light from ultraviolet radiation.