Do you like tomatoes? If not tomatoes then probably you like tomato ketchup?
We use tomatoes in so many food items daily, in fact most of the dishes contain tomatoes.
What if someone told you that tomatoes could also be used in solar cells?
Lycopene, a pigment found specifically in tomatoes and other red fruits, was added to perovskite-based solar cells to increase their efficiency and durability, according to a team of Chinese researchers. It is believed that solar cells could become more responsive to their surroundings in this way.
Lycopene is a potent antioxidant found in some red fruits, especially cooked tomatoes, watermelon, papaya, and pink grapefruit. As is well known, this pigment shields the skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. By attaching to free radicals generated by UV rays, lycopene guards against cell damage to skin tissue. This led the researchers to hypothesise that lycopene might exert a similar inhibitory effect on the degradation of perovskite solar cells when they are exposed to oxygen in the air and UV radiation. The outcomes demonstrate that lycopene is capable of passivating grain boundaries, enhancing transparency, and even lowering the density of electron traps to enhance electrical flow. In this way, solar cells improved in terms of efficiency as well as durability.
Durable and Resistant
From 20.57 per cent to 23.62 per cent, the energy conversion efficiency showed a significant improvement, according to the researchers. Lycopene also can scavenge free radicals produced by UV light. However, the device demonstrates superior hydrophobic and antioxidant properties, high oxygen resistance (91.2 per cent in 960 hours), improved UV resistance (92.4 per cent on average in 3,500 hours), and long-term durability. Although it will be possible to market this cell type, it will be possible to discover that the efficiency will last for thirty years.
One nutrient that occurs naturally in some plants is lycopene, which belongs to the carotenoid family along with lutein, zeaxanthin, and many others. Lycopene is a known antioxidant that contributes to the colour of red and pink fruits by serving as the pigment. Because they are particularly abundant sources of lycopene, tomatoes and tomato-based products are most frequently linked to it.
What is Lycopene and How is it Beneficial in terms of Health?
Antioxidant functions are what lycopene performs best for human health.
Activated reactive substances known as free radicals cause oxidative stress in our bodies; antioxidants counteract their effects. When the quantity and activity of free radicals outweigh the antioxidants’ protective effects, oxidative stress can become harmful to our bodies. This can happen when we need to repair damaged tissues or fight off cancer cells.
Uncontrolled oxidative stress has been linked to the onset of chronic diseases like some cancers and cardiovascular disease. Antioxidant qualities of lycopene help to keep the body’s free radical activity in check, which may protect against some of these ailments.
The strongest proof of lycopene’s health benefits is tied to its ability to lower blood pressure. Lycopene has been shown to lower blood pressure, particularly in people with high blood pressure, when consumed in doses greater than 12 milligrammes (mg) per day.
A diet high in lycopene has been linked to a lower risk of developing some cancers, such as breast, prostate, and lung cancer, according to some observational studies. Randomized controlled trials have not consistently shown a benefit to consuming lycopene from food or supplements for cancer prevention or treatment, though research in these areas is inconsistent.
Lycopene appears to have the potential to protect against the damaging effects of sun exposure on our skin, despite the paucity of research in this area.
Lycopene is beneficial for human health but now it could even be beneficial for solar cells!
Also published on Medium.