Scientists Develop Cell To Capture Solar Energy

The University of George Washington, along with a famous researcher, has helped develop a prototype of a new cell that helps integrate multiple solar cells into just one device that is capable of absorbing almost all of the solar energy.

Using an innovative design, converting direct sunlight to electric use have an efficiency of up to 45%. Its potential makes it the most efficient solar cell ever created in the world.

Its new design is very different from the solar panels we know today. This new creation uses highly concentrated photovoltaic panels that use lenses to absorb sunlight in small scale micro solar cells. Because it is tiny, about 1 millimeter square, solar cells that use more sophisticated materials can be made more economically.

The study of this new cell called “GaSb-based solar cells for the full harvest of solar energy from the solar spectrum” was published in the famous magazine on the subject Advanced Energy Materials.

The new cell works in a sieve-like fashion to get sunlight, having specialized materials for each layer of energy absorption, in a set similar to the lengths of a wave, said Matthew Lumb, the lead author of research and research Of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. From the moment the light is channeled through the sieve, just under half of the available energy has been transformed into electricity. In comparison, the most common solar cell today converts only 1/4 of the available energy into electricity.

About 99% of the power contained in direct sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface passes through wavelengths of 250 nanometers and 2,500 nanometers, but conventional materials for high-efficiency multi-junction solar cells can not capture that amount of range Spectral, Dr. Lumb said. Our new device is able to unlock the energy stored in the long-lived photons lost in conventional solar cells, and therefore provides a way for the realization of the final multi-junction solar cell.

Scientists responsible for the new device have worked to develop more efficient solar cells for years, but this approach has 2 innovative aspects. It uses a range of materials based on gallium antimony substrates, known as GaSb, which are typically found in applications for laser and infrared photodetectors. These GaSb-based solar cells are mounted in a stacking structure along with high efficiency solar cells and grown on conventional substrates that capture shorter wavelength solar photons. In addition to printing, it allows the three-dimensional assembly of these tiny devices with a high degree of accuracy.

Although it is a huge breakthrough, this finding is quite expensive, but researchers believe it is important to show the upper limit of what is possible in terms of efficiency. Even using a high cost for materials, the technique used to create the cells is very promising, the researchers said. Eventually a similar product triggered by cost reductions from very high solar concentration levels and technology to react to expensive growth substrates could be brought to market.

These researches are based on the advances made in the MOSAIC program, a $ 24 million research project funded by the Energy-Advanced Research Projects Agency, which also funds 11 separate teams in the United States seeking to develop technologies and concepts to revolutionize performance Photovoltaic and development of viable commercial technology in the near future, the researchers said.

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