Team develops side-illuminated ultra-efficient solar cell designs

Nov 08, 2012
The new cell architecture (above) developed at the David Ben-Gurion National Solar Research Center at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev can exceed an ultra-efficient 40 percent conversion efficiency with intensities equal to 10,000 suns. When irradiated from the side, it generates solar conversion efficiencies that rival, and may eventually surpass, the most ultra-efficient photovolataics. This diagram is a schematic drawing of a 3-tier 6-terminal MBVJ solar cell. The number of tiers/materials is a design variable, and both the width (sub-cell dimension along the x-axis) and depth (sub-cell dimension along the z-axis) of each vertical junction need to be optimized. Credit: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have developed a radically new design for a concentrator solar cell that, when irradiated from the side, generates solar conversion efficiencies which rival, and may eventually surpass, the most ultra-efficient photovoltaics.

The new cell architecture developed at the David Ben-Gurion National Solar Research Center at BGU can exceed an ultra-efficient 40 percent with intensities equal to 10,000 suns.

"Typically a concentrator solar cell comprises interdependent stacked materials connected in series, with significant associated fabrication difficulties and efficiency limitations," explains Prof. Jeffrey Gordon, a member of the Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics at BGU's Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research.

"Our new designs for concentrator photovoltaic cells comprise multiple tiers of that are totally independent, and overcome numerous challenges in compiling the elements of even the most efficient solar cells," he says.

The BGU invention also demonstrates the distinctly new possibility of exploiting common materials, such as silicon, previously deemed unsuitable under highly concentrated solar radiation. Tailoring the cells to edge (side) illumination reduces the cell internal resistance to negligible levels. This increases the solar at which cell efficiency peaks to up to 10,000 times ambient solar , which is significantly higher than ever before.

"Our future depends on the development of alternative energies, and BGU is leading the way in this field," explains Doron Krakow, executive vice president of American Associates, Ben- Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU). "Prof. Gordon and his colleagues in BGU's continue to bring new innovations that will impact our world for the better."

The new technology was recently detailed in a paper that appeared in Energy & Environmental Science.

Explore further: New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat

Related Stories

Quick test diagnoses bacterial or viral infection

Jul 20, 2011

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have developed a new test that quickly and accurately distinguishes between bacterial and viral infections in as little as five hours.

Recommended for you

Preparing for a zero-emission urban bus system

just added

In order to create a competitive and sustainable transport system, the EU must look to alternative fuels to replace or complement petrol and diesel. Not only will this reduce transport emissions but it will ...

Exploring the value of 'Energy Star' homes

26 minutes ago

The numbers in neat columns tell—column by column, page by page—a story spread out across Carmen Carrión-Flores' desk at Binghamton University. It's a great story, she says; she just doesn't know how ...

Toward a networked energy future

23 hours ago

February 1, 2050, is a good day for German electricity consumers. The breeze off the north coast is blowing so strongly that offshore wind farms and the wind turbines on land are running non-stop. Since it's ...

Meeting power needs with wireless recharging

Oct 29, 2014

If you buy a 2016 Toyota Prius, you won't need to worry about keeping your hybrid car charged—just get the option for wireless power transfer that lets you drive into your garage and have your battery automatically ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Sonhouse
not rated yet Nov 08, 2012
Here is a physorg article showing even more efficiency:

http://phys.org/n...tml#nRlv
RealScience
not rated yet Nov 08, 2012
Nice - very high voltage and low current. They'll need even illumination along the cell, but some module architectures do provide this.
But at what cost?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.