December 29, 2008

Solar cells produce more on edge

Tip vanishingly thin solar cells on end and you can boost the amount of sunlight the cells convert to electricity.

The solar cells have reflective layers on either side that guide light waves. Sunlight enters at one end, then bounces between the two sides, allowing the cell to absorb more light. The perpendicular orientation also makes it possible to keep the part of the cell that absorbs light very thin, which is important for getting as many electrons as possible out of the cell.

Apply the waveguide to a dye-sensitized solar cell and you increase the cell's conversion efficiency by 4.3 times.

The technique can be used with many types of solar cells. It also promises to make it easier to combine multiple solar cells that absorb different parts of the solar spectrum.

Research paper:
Optical Waveguide Enhanced Photovoltaics
Optics Express, December 22, 2008

Researchers' homepage:
Zaban's Group, Bar Ilan University

Related stories and briefs:
Reflectivity boosts solar coating prospects -- related research
Fine-tuned reflector ups solar cell output -- related research
Holey silicon promises better solar cells -- related research

Back to ERN December 29, 2008/January 5, 2009



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