Nanostructures will raise thin-film solar cell efficiency

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego are working towards thin-film ‘single junction’ solar cells that have the potential for almost 45% sunlight to electricity conversion.

The US Dept of Energy awarded an $885,000 grant to the team of electrical engineers led by Professor Edward Yu to continue developing their thin-film and nanowire solar cells. The cells also contain semiconductor quantum wells and photon-scattering nanoparticles. The new design leads to both the number of photons absorbed and the number of excited electrons (aka electricity) that the cell produces.

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