September 8, 2008

Light trap boosts solar cells

Turn direct sunlight into diffuse light in a solar cell and you boost the intensity of the light, which increases the cell's efficiency. A solar concentrator that turns sunlight to diffuse light traps more than 90% of the light that hits it.

Diffuse light is more intense because the light bounces around inside the device, which means less of the light reflects away.

The light trap works with spectrum splitting solar cells, which are optimized to convert specific parts of the solar spectrum. Spectrum splitting solar cells are more efficient than single solar cells that work across the whole solar spectrum.

Research paper:
Light Trapping, a New Approach to Spectrum Splitting
Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, published online August 29, 2008

Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems

Related stories and briefs:
Window generates electricity -- another spectrum splitting technique

Back to ERN September 8/15, 2008



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