November 10, 2008

Coating passes more light to solar cells

Stack layers of angled nanorods on a solar cell and you can get more light into it and therefore more electricity out of it.

The nanostructured antireflection coating is seven layers of silicon dioxide and titanium dioxide nanorods. Each layer is tuned to transmit a different portion of the solar spectrum, which lets the coating as a whole transmit ultraviolet, visible and infrared light. The coating also works equally well at angles up to 60 degrees.

The coating reflects only 3.79 percent of sunlight, the smallest amount to date, according to the researchers. The coating boosts the amount of sunlight a silicon solar cell absorbs from 67 percent to 96 percent.

Research paper:
Realization of a Near-perfect Antireflection Coating for Silicon Solar Energy Utilization
Optics Letters, November 1, 2008

Researchers' homepage:
Future Chips Constellation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Related stories and briefs:
Bugs inspire better solar cell coatings -- related research

Back to ERN November 17/24, 2008



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