A new silicon solar photovoltaic cell capable of turning infrared radiation into electricity has been developed by a team headed by researchers at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).
While solar cells capable of taking advantage of the infrared portion of the solar spectrum are nothing new, a silicon solar cell that can effectively do so is.
Here’s the abstract from the new paper:
Silicon is the material of choice for visible light photodetection and solar cell fabrication. However, due to the intrinsic band gap properties of silicon, most infrared photons are energetically useless. Here, we show the first example of a photodiode developed on a micrometre scale sphere made of polycrystalline silicon whose photocurrent shows the Mie modes of a classical spherical resonator. The long dwell time of resonating photons enhances the photocurrent response, extending it into the infrared region well beyond the absorption edge of bulk silicon.
It opens the door for developing solar cells and photodetectors that may harvest infrared light more efficiently than silicon photovoltaic devices that are so far developed.
Lead researcher, professor Francisco Meseguer, explains thusly: “After three years of work, our research team has developed a new concept of silicon solar cells able to absorb infrared radiation from the sun and turning them into electricity.”
Researcher Moisés Garín, from the CSIC and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, adds to that: “What we have done is create photovoltaic cells on silicon micrometer-scale sphere, where infrared light is trapped until it is absorbed turning it into electricity.”
As you can probably tell from the quotes, English isn’t the first language of the researchers. 🙂 But if you like to have some visuals accompany verbal explanation (or are fortunate enough to speak Spanish), then you may still enjoy the video posted below explaining the work.
The new research was published in the journal Nature Communications.