A group of researchers lead by Toshiaki Kato, the corresponding author of the paper and associate professor at Tohoku University's Graduate School of Engineering has developed a highly transparent solar cell using a 2D atomic sheet that could revolutionize the perception of solar energy. These near-invisible solar cells have an average visible transparency of 79%, making them suitable for placement almost anywhere, including building windows, car front panels, and even human skin.

The researchers created the solar cell by controlling the contact barriers between indium tin oxide (ITO) and a monolayer tungsten disulfide. They coated various thin metals onto the ITO and inserted a thin layer of tungsten oxide between the coated ITO and the tungsten disulfide. The resulting solar cell has a power conversion efficiency over 1000 times that of a device using a normal ITO electrode.

The transparent solar cells could revolutionize the energy industry by expanding the ways in which solar energy can be used. They could be integrated into buildings, vehicles, and other surfaces that are not currently being utilized for energy production. Additionally, they could be used in consumer products such as smartphones and other electronic devices, eliminating the need for chargers and power banks.

The use of 2D materials, such as graphene and tungsten disulfide, has shown promise in recent years. However, there are still challenges to be addressed before these transparent solar cells can be widely. Nonetheless, the potential applications of these near-invisible solar cells are numerous, making them a promising development in the field of solar energy.