Dye-sensitized solar cell is a new type of solar cell, an electrochemical system that produces energy from light that shines on dyes. The technology has attracted interest in recent years because manufacturing these solar cells is more environmentally friendly and less costly than manufacturing conventional silicon solar cells. Designers also face fewer restrictions in the colors and shapes that can be created. Sony has been involved in R&D geared at practical adoption of the technology as we study dyes, device structures, manufacturing processes, and improved reliability. Meanwhile, concept development remains another focus, as good design reveals ways to introduce the new solar cells in lifestyles of the near future.
Marigold patterns brighten these prototype panels. This is an exploration of the graphical potential of solar cells produced through printing technology, and it also reminds us of photosynthesis, the natural process used by plants to derive energy from sunlight, which is similar to the photoelectric mechanism of the panels. In this application of the technology, the panels are used in "Hana-Akari" lanterns powered by the dye-sensitized solar cells. During the day, the panels generate power from sunlight or ambient light indoors. This energy later illuminates the lantern, which projects floral patterns on nearby surfaces in the evening. It's a conceptual proposal for a lamp, in the form of a lantern requiring no additional source of electricity, and it fits seamlessly into our lifestyles.