An international group of researchers has apparently found a way in which solar cells could absorb more than twice as much sunlight. They use a simple trick to do this.
When generating electricity from solar power, the absorption rate of the solar cells – i.e. the ability to absorb as high a proportion of the incoming light waves as possible – plays a decisive role. One way to increase this absorption rate is to reduce the reflection of sunlight – for example via a structure etched into the surface of the solar cell. It is precisely with this technique that the researchers from Great Britain, Portugal and Brazil started and achieved amazing success.
Absorption rate increases by 125 percent
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If their research results are confirmed in practice, solar cells could in future be more than twice as effective as them Futurezone reports. In addition, corresponding modules could be made thinner and produced much cheaper. In their study “Light trapping in solar cells: simple design rules to maximize absorption”, the scientists show how they have succeeded in improving the absorption rate of solar cells by up to 125 percent.
Accordingly, the researchers examined how the etched patterns in solar cells affect the ability to absorb light waves. It turned out that the patterns used so far had little advantage. The researchers achieved significantly less light reflection and more absorption with a checkerboard pattern with random rotations. And: According to the study, this pattern could also be used in mass production – and is more robust than the currently used patterns with nanostructures.
Solar cells could become thinner by a factor of 10
The researchers admitted that the increase in performance in practice could ultimately be less than in their experiments. But they are of the opinion that it is in any case possible to make solar cells and the corresponding modules thinner by a factor of ten. This would result in significant savings in expensive materials and the price, which in turn would lead to a wider use of photovoltaics and thus solar power production. According to the researchers, their development could also be used in other areas such as noise protection or biosensors.