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Solar cell efficiency may soon triple

Princeton University researchers have  increased the efficiency of organic solar cells 175 percent by using a nanostructured “sandwich” of metal and plastic that collects and traps light.

Two primary challenges cause solar cells to lose energy: light reflecting from the cell, and the inability to fully capture light that enters the cell according to chief electrical research engineer professor Stephen Chou at Princeton.

According to the Princeton School of Engineering and Applied Science news release;

With their new metallic sandwich, the researchers were able to address both problems. The sandwich — called a subwavelength plasmonic cavity — has an extraordinary ability to dampen reflection and trap light. The new technique allowed Chou’s team to create a solar cell that only reflects about 4 percent of light and absorbs as much as 96 percent. It demonstrates 52 percent higher efficiency in converting light to electrical energy than a conventional solar cell.

Professor Chou cautions that research is not yet concluded on inorganic solar cells but that the technology should be applicable to conventional inorganic solar cell production.


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