Researchers Create 3-D Surface to Boost Solar Cell Efficiency

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new treatment for silicon photovoltaic solar cells that creates bumps and peaks on the surface that increase cell efficiency in two ways.


The surface structures prevent water and dust from coming into contact with the cells. When water hits the surface, it beads together and runs off, collecting any dirt or dust along with it. This self-cleaning mechanism will help keep the solar cells working at maximum light absorption at all times.

Additionally, the three-dimensional structures manage to capture more light and reflect less.

“The more sunlight that goes into the photovoltaic cells and the less that reflects back, the higher the efficiency can be,” said C.P. Wong, Regents’ professor and author of the study. “Our simulations show that we can potentially increase the final efficiency of the cells by as much as two percent with this surface structure.”

To achieve the textured surface, Wong’s team etched the silicon with potassium hydroxide, which removes some silicon and creates pyramid structures. They then use an “e-beam process” to apply microscopic gold particles to the pyramids that act as a catalyst when hydrogen fluoride and hydrogen peroxide are added to the mix. This creates a second layer of structures and the desired “superhydrophobic” characteristics.

For more information, check out the press release here.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Latest CleanTechnica TV Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.