Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Triple-Junction Solar Cell Being Developed By US Navy Is To Break Through The 50% Conversion Efficiency Barrier

Solar cells with a more than 50% conversion efficiency may be a reality in the near future, thanks to new research from the US Naval Research Laboratory’s Electronics Technology and Science Division.

triple junction solar cells record

Image Credits: US Naval Research Laboratory

The solution to the old efficiency barrier is a newly-designed, triple-junction solar cell that has the potential to greatly exceed 50% conversion efficiency.

“This research has produced a novel, realistically achievable, lattice-matched, multi-junction solar cell design with the potential to break the 50 percent power conversion efficiency mark under concentrated illumination,” said Robert Walters, Ph.D., Naval Research Laboratory research physicist. “At present, the world record triple-junction solar cell efficiency is 44 percent under concentration and it is generally accepted that a major technology breakthrough will be required for the efficiency of these cells to increase much further.”

A ‘multi-junction solar cell’, is essentially, a solar cell where each specialized ‘junction’ is designed to very efficiently absorb and use different wavelength bands in the solar spectrum. Theoretically, it’s possible to create an ‘infinite-junction’ solar cell that could reach conversion efficiencies as high as 87 percent. But to do that, it’s necessary to create a semiconductor material system that is able to “attain a wide range of bandgaps and be grown with high crystalline quality.”

The new breakthrough that the researchers have made, is the identification of “InAlAsSb” quaternary alloys, “a high band gap material layer that can be grown lattice-matched” to the already useful “InP.”

With the material, the researchers were able to create a new solar cell design that they think will lead to power conversion efficiencies over 50%.

While this sounds like a great breakthrough, there is still a lot to be done before this leads to actual improved efficiency solar cells.

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.


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


Support our work today!


Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports


EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats


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

Autonomous Vehicles

Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States of America, and Kamala Harris will break through many barriers to become the...

Energy Efficiency

Tinker Air Force Base has a head start on the road to an energy efficient, carbon negative -- yes, carbon negative -- US Department...

Clean Power

After years of experimenting, DOD is plunging into the sparkling green future of ultra-resilient microgrids and renewable energy.

Clean Power

In honor of Memorial Day here in the United States (yesterday), rooftop solar power firm SunPower has been offering a $1,000 rebate for current...

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.