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Solar cell experiment

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Solar Cell Introduction Solar Cells are used to convert available light into electrical energy. They do this without the use of chemical reactions. This conversion process is based on the work done by a French physicist named Alexander Becquerel in 1839. He discovered the photoelectric effect which describes the release of positive and negative charge carriers in a solid state when light hits its surface. He found, when experimenting with an electrolytic cell made up of two metal electrodes, that some materials would produce small amounts of current when exposed to light. Fifty years later a scientist named Charles Fritts created the first real solar cell using junctions by coating the semiconductor with a nearly transparent layer of gold. A semiconductor is a material such as silicon or germanium, where the material has properties which fall between conductors and insulators. However the efficiency of this conversion of light to electricity was less than 1 percent. Next in 1930 a semiconductor was made using copper oxide, yet the efficiency of the conversion was still less than 1 percent. This was overcome in 1954 when silicon was used for the semiconductor and the efficiency was increased to 6 percent. Then by 1989 the use of a device which concentrated light onto the cell surface using a lens, increased the efficiency to 37 percent. ...read more.


I have chosen these variables because I believe these the variables which will have the greatest effect upon the experiment, and will give us the best results. The results we achieve should hopefully be corresponding and systematic results, which will give us a linear graph. Hypothesis 1) I predict that as the distance between the lamp and the solar cell increases the output of the solar cell will decrease. 2) Secondly I believe that as the power is increased the output of the solar cell will increase Explanation of Hypothesis 1) The same amount of energy from the lamp will be given out throughout investigating this variable. However as the distance is increased between the lamp and the solar cell, the light intensity will decrease. This is because the concentration of light becomes more dilute the further away it moves from the lamp. In a small area around the lamp the light will be concentrated and therefore give more energy to the solar cell. As the light energy moves further out it travels fills a greater area meaning that less energy reaches the solar cell as more the energy is spread throughout the surroundings. This diagram illustrates how the light intensity decreases as the distance is increased: Area of a sphere = 4?r2 Given that the area of a sphere equals 4?r2 this diagram shows us that the further the distance the light must travel the bigger the distance it will encompass. ...read more.


Therefore we would predict that the colours with higher frequencies hitting the solar cell would produce a bigger output. However in order to carry out this experiment we would require expensive equipment. In the lab however we could investigate the effect which coloured light filters have on the solar cell output. Colour light filters will only let the colour that it is through the filter meaning we would be able to test this variable. The apparatus required for this experiment would be as follows: Apparatus For the experiment we will require: * 12 Volt lamp * Variable low voltage supply * Solar cell * Digital voltmeter & digital ammeter * 0-100 milliamp ammeter * Meter rules * Wires * Crocodile clips * Colour light filters Method > Set up the apparatus as shown in the diagram in the planning section, but between the solar cell and the lamp will be a colour filter > I will check to make sure the constants are fixed, such as distance and voltage, to give fair results > I will place the filter in 2 cm between the lamp and the solar cell and position the lamp so all the light is focused at the filter > I will record each ammeter, voltmeter and mA reading > Then I will change the colour of the filter and repeat the procedure > Then repeat I will repeat the whole experiment to make sure that our results are reliable and not a one off fluke ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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