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Published on November 9th, 2012 | by James Ayre


Ultra-Efficient Side-Illuminated Solar Cell Architecture Created By Researchers

November 9th, 2012 by  

A revolutionary new design for a concentrator solar cell has been created by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). The new design works extremely well when it’s irradiated from the side, generating solar conversion efficiencies that are near those of the most ultra-efficient photovoltaics.

ultra efficient solar cell

The new cell architecture is able to go beyond a 40% conversion efficiency — that’s extremely efficient for solar cells — with intensities equal to 10,000 suns.

“Typically a concentrator solar cell comprises interdependent stacked materials connected in series, with significant associated fabrication difficulties and efficiency limitations,” explains Prof. Jeffrey Gordon, a member of the Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics at BGU’s Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research.

“Our new designs for concentrator photovoltaic cells comprise multiple tiers of semiconductor materials that are totally independent, and overcome numerous challenges in compiling the elements of even the most efficient solar cells,” he says.

This new architecture is also creating the potential to use materials that have previously been considered unsuitable under highly concentrated solar radiation, such as silicon. “Tailoring the cells to edge (side) illumination reduces the cell internal resistance to negligible levels.”

By doing this, the solar concentration levels at which the cell efficiency peaks increase by more than 10,000 times ambient solar beam radiation. That is considerably higher than any others ever before.

“Our future depends on the development of alternative energies, and BGU is leading the way in this field,” explains Doron Krakow, executive vice president of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU). “Prof. Gordon and his colleagues in BGU’s Energy Initiative continue to bring new innovations that will impact our world for the better.”

The new research was just detailed in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.

Source: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Image Credit: Ben-Gurion University 


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About the Author

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.

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