Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Clean Power

Solar Cells Could Receive Huge Boost in Efficiency Thanks to Next-Gen Antireflection Coatings

 
Solar cell efficiency is set to greatly increase in the next few years thanks to newly created next-gen antireflection coatings. The new nanomaterial coatings will help to limit the amount of light that is reflected away by the surfaces of solar cells.

solar panel anti reflection research

In the past few years, materials with a ‘tunable’ refractive index have been developed, and are showing a lot of potential for use in photovoltaics. New research led by Professor E. Fred Schubert, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering, has been exploring possible uses for this in the solar power field.

“The refractive index is the property of a material that changes the speed of light, and is computed as the ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to the speed of light through the material,” a press release on the new research notes. “Among the most fundamental properties of optical materials, the refractive index determines important optical characteristics such as Fresnel reflection, Bragg reflection, Snell refraction, diffraction, and the phase and group velocity of light.”

Most gases, including air, possess a refractive index that is very near 1.0, but obviously their potential use in thin-film optoelectronic applications would be extremely limited. “Among transparent dense materials suitable for use in thin-film optoelectronic applications, magnesium fluoride (MgF2) has the lowest refractive index (n=1.39); no dense materials with a lower refractive index are known to exist.”

The range between 1.0 and 1.39 had remained more or less unexplored until the recent advent of tunable-refractive-index materials.

“Optical thin-film materials with a refractive index as low as 1.05 have been demonstrated. Tunable-refractive-index materials are based on ‘nanoporous’ silicon dioxide (SiO2), indium-tin oxide (ITO), and titanium dioxide (TiO2), and we can precisely control porosity by using oblique-angle deposition — a technique in which the substrate is at non-normal angle of incidence with respect to the deposition source,” says Schubert.


 
The researchers used those materials to create a four-layer antireflection coating. “The fabrication process of this coating is additive and purely physical, so it’s fully compatible with current manufacturing processes of solar cells,” he notes. “Our customizable approach readily lends itself to the incorporation of antireflection coating design into solar cell device structures for application-specific requirements.”

The new coating is readily applicable, viable, and is a huge plus to the development of next-gen antireflection solar panel coating technologies.

Source: AVS: Science & Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processing
Image Credits: University of Houston


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Clean Power

A new technique for cooling solar panels has been under development in Egypt. A mixture of water, aluminum oxide, and calcium chloride hexahydrate cools...

Clean Power

Two of Australia’s leading solar experts have warned of the dangers in cutting grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Australia’s two top...

Policy & Politics

In an attempt to boost its image as a global leader in the solar power market, India is planning to propose a collaboration among...

Clean Power

Originally published on Solar Love. State by state, the effects of going solar are influenced by much more than how much the state naturally enjoys sunshine throughout...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.