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Solar cells

More Efficient, Self-cleaning Solar Cells

Written by , on March 17, 2014

Researchers from Changchun University of Science and Technology, Xi’an Technological University and Cardiff University have found that a patterned layer on top of the active part of a solar panel can avoid the energy losses due to reflection from the surface. They have devised an approach to the lithographic process used to “print” microelectronic circuits […]  Read more »

Side-Illuminated Solar Cell Design Gives Higher Efficiencies

Written by , on December 12, 2012

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a radically new design for a concentrator solar cell that, when irradiated from the side, generates solar conversion efficiencies that can exceed an ultra-efficient 40% conversion with intensities equal to 10,000 suns. Typically a concentrator solar cell consists of multiple layers of semiconductor materials stacked on […]  Read more »

Thin-film Solar Cells from Abundant Materials

Written by , on October 4, 2012

A research team led by IBM has developed an efficient thin-film solar cell using the abundant materials, copper zinc and tin. Currently, thin-film solar cells are generally made from copper, iridium, gallium and selenium (CIGS). The last three of these are obtained as a by-product of other mineral production. Because they are only produced as […]  Read more »

New Low-cost Solar Technology

Written by , on August 29, 2012

Researchers at RTI International in North Carolina have reported in Applied Physics Letters that they have developed a new solar technology that could make solar energy more affordable. The RTI solar cells (technically, planar PbS quantum dot/C60 heterojunction photovoltaic devices) are formed from solutions of semiconductor particles, known as colloidal quantum dots, and can have […]  Read more »

Crinkled Solar Cells Greatly Improve Efficiency

Written by , on June 14, 2012

Scientists from Princeton University have reported in Nature Photonics that they have used microscopic folds on the surface of photovoltaic material to significantly increase the power output of flexible, low-cost solar cells. The team reported  that the folds resulted in a 47% increase in electricity generation. To create the folds, the researchers used ultraviolet light to […]  Read more »

Spray-on Solar Cells for Windows

Written by , on March 22, 2012

Dr Mark Bissett, from Flinders University in South Australia, has developed a solar cell using transparent carbon nanotubes that can be sprayed onto windows. The solar cell is created by taking two sheets of electrically conductive glass and sandwiching a layer of functionalised single-walled carbon nanotubes between the glass sheets. The nanotube cells can be […]  Read more »

Ultra-thin Silicon Technology Could Dramatically Reduce Solar PV Cost

Written by , on March 15, 2012

A Californian company, Twin Creeks Technologies, has developed a technology which it claims could halve the cost of pphotovoltaic cells and make solar pv technology price competitive with fossil fuels. Currently, most photovoltaic cells are made by slicing blocks of silicon into 200 micron thick wafers. Electrodes are attached and the silicon wafers are covered […]  Read more »

More Efficient Thin-Film Solar Cells

Written by , on February 17, 2012

A team of researchers from Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology and Suntech have developed what they clain to be the world’s most efficient broadband nanoplasmonic thin-film solar cells. The researchers initially improved silicon based thin film cell efficiency by embedding gold and silver nanoparticles into the cells. This increases the wavelength range of the absorbed […]  Read more »

Solar Power from Grass Clippings

Written by , on February 4, 2012

In the video below, MIT researcher Andreas Mershin describes advances in producing photovoltaic cells based on waste plant material, such as grass clippings. The work is an extension of a project begun eight years ago by Shuguang Zhang, associate director at MIT’s Center for Biomedical Engineering. Zhang extracted the tiny structures within plant cells that […]  Read more »

Advance Could Enable Solar Powered Phones

Written by , on January 11, 2012

Molecular Solar Ltd, a company spun out of the UK’s University of Warwick, has demonstrated a record voltage of more than 4 volts from organic photovoltaic solar cells. Being able to achieve 4 volts means that low cost organic PV cells could be used for built-in charging of handheld electronic devices, such as mobile phones […]  Read more »