A new tandem thin-film silicon solar cell efficiency record was recently set by a PhD student at TU Delft by the name of Hairen Tan.
The new record conversion efficiency of 14.8% was achieved via the use of a variety of “innovative techniques” for which Tan was awarded the Young Research Award at the 6th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion, held recently in Kyoto.
To be specific, the record was set through the use of amorphous silicon and nanocrystalline silicon absorber layers which were stacked in a way that allowed for the improvement of light spectrum utilization. In addition, Tan also utilized a “modulated surface texture” approach that he developed himself — thereby scattering and absorbing the light more efficiently.
This approach was done via the creation of a “novel surface morphology” of a glass substrate, achieved via etching — or, “nano-scale features of a transparent electrode deposited on the etched glass,” as Tan put it.
Another factor in the achievement of the new record was with regard to the quality of the semiconductor material — according to TU Delft, the amorphous and nanocrystalline silicon layers used were both of “exceptional electronic quality.”
The work was performed in collaboration with the EPFL laboratory in Neuchatel, Switzerland — Tan utilized the research body’s transparent electrodes (thereby minimizing optical losses beyond the absorber layers).
Tan is expecting to eventually achieve a conversion efficiency of 15% with his new approach.
In addition to the above-mentioned record, TU Delft also recently revealed a new quadruple junction solar cell with a conversion efficiency of 11.4%.
Image Credit: TU Delft
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