Superstrate cell - "Artificial leaf" in action
This video clip shows a complex solar cell with what is known as a superstrate structure. This cell works like an "artificial leaf" of sorts, using sunlight to split water and, in the process, yield hydrogen gas. The cell is submerged in a dilute sulphuric acid solution and is irradiated with sunlight from the front to cause an electrical tension to build up inside the cell. The camera view is at the cell's back side, which was coated with two special catalysts to ensure that the process runs as efficiently as possible and that it takes place in separate locations: In the left reaction window, coated with "platinum black," hydrogen gas is building up whereas in the right window, coated with ruthenium dioxide particles, oxygen bubbles are developing. In order to coat the catalysts on the solar cell contacts, Diana Stellmach has come up with a clever new solution: She uses a conducting plastic to attach the catalytic particles to the cellular contacts. This way, she has become the first scientist in all of Europe to have come up with a solution to prevent corrosion. The plastic seals the cell's more sensitive parts to protect them against corrosion, thereby enabling a stable yield of approximately 3.7 percent sunlight.