There is an urgent need for alternative compact technologies that can derive and store energy from the sun, especially the large amount of solar heat that is not effectively used for power generation. Here, we report a combination of solution- and neat-film-based molecular solar thermal (MOST) systems, where solar energy can be stored as chemical energy and released as heat, with microfabricated thermoelectric generators
to produce electricity when solar radiation is not available.
The photophysical properties of two MOST couples are characterized both in liquid with a catalytical cycling setup and in a phase-interconvertible neat film. Their suitable photophysical properties let us combine them individually with a microelectromechanical ultrathin thermoelectric
chip to use the stored solar energy for electrical power generation
. The generator can produce, as a proof of concept
, a power output of up to 0.1 nW (power output per unit volume up to 1.3 W m−3
). Our results demonstrate that such a molecular thermal power generation system
has a high potential to store and transfer solar power into electricity and is thus potentially independent of geographical restrictions.