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Published on January 22nd, 2013 | by James Ayre


Black Silicon Can Lead To More Efficient Solar Cells, New Breakthrough Shows

January 22nd, 2013 by  

A significant breakthrough has been made in the light absorption and surface passivation abilities of silicon nano-structures (such as black silicon) by researchers at Aalto University in Finland.


The improvements were made by the application of an atomic layer coating, which works to improve light absorption and to make it more resistant to impurities (improved surface passivation).

The researchers think that big improvements in solar cell efficiency will be possible because of this work, as it addresses two of the main problems with black silicon: poor surface passivation, and limited light absorption.

“This method provides extremely good surface passivation. Simultaneously, it reduces the reflectance further at all wavelengths. These results are very promising considering the use of black silicon (b-Si) surfaces on solar cells to increase the efficiency to completely new levels,” said Päivikki Repo, a researcher at Aalto University.

Black Silicon solar cells are an exciting technology, as they allow the absorption of infrared light in addition to the visible spectrum. Eventually, they should lead to ultra-high-efficiency solar cells, and they have been experiencing a lot of progress in that regard recently. Just back in October, a new efficiency record was set that was nearly double what the previous record was.

This research was recently published in the Journal of Photovoltaics.

Source: Aalto University
Image Credits: Aalto 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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