Sure, solar panels are good for the environment, but they’re so … boring. Now scientists have found a way to spice things up. In a study published online this month in Nano Letters, researchers describe making solar cells in several colors (pictured) that still perform efficiently. The scientists layered silicon dioxide, a common material to make glass optical fibers, and titanium dioxide, widely used to absorb harmful ultraviolet rays in sunscreens, alternately to create a structure called photonic crystal that can interact with light. Then they placed a layer of perovskite, the light-harvesting material, on top of the photonic crystal. The colors appear as a result of a combination of light reflected by the photonic crystal and absorbed by the perovskite; they can be changed by varying the thickness of individual silicon or titanium layers in the photonic crystal section. One downside: The colored cells are less efficient than their black counterparts, converting—at most—about 9% of the sunlight they receive into electricity, versus 25% for traditional cells. Still, the team hopes that the colorful cells could win over people averse to solar panels and boost solar adoption on buildings and other structures.
Go back to the enewsletterOrmina Tours this week rolled out its 2020 program with more departure dates on its popular small group journeys such as Sicily Bella. The program allows more back-to-back combinations between small group tours and its personally tailored European City Breaks and Regional Discoveries.In 2020, Ormina delivers two new itineraries over the European winter months, designed to suit families or winter-activity enthusiasts at any level of experience. A late departure on the Berlin to Budapest small-group tour complements the new releases as an optional add on.The Christmas Markets Regional Discovery commences in Vienna and ends in Venice including options for ice skating, traditional Christmas market visits, a cooking class and a magical castle stay over Christmas.Adventure seekers are catered to with Ormina’s new Winter Dolomites Regional Discovery, combining winter hiking, snowshoeing, sledding and cable car rides through the mountain scenery. The program also includes lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant and a stay at the spectacular four-star ‘Superior’ Hotel Christiania in the Alta Badia Valley. Both additions are fully customisable to suit travellers’ relative expertise and experience in the snow.“Our private recommended itineraries are appealing to travellers who want the ease of pre-organised travel, but don’t want to be bound by the structure of a set group tour,” said Anna Jones, Sales and Marketing Director at Ormina Tours.“Each program is fully customisable to suit our clients’ interests, abilities, group size and budget, so that they can get the most out of their holiday”.For a copy of the brochure and/or 2020 departure dates and prices contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (02) 8076 2295.Go back to the enewsletter