Infrared breakthrough makes silicon solar cells more efficient

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

The research team included scientists based at the Universitat Politècnica de València, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTech (UPC) and the Universidad Rovira i Virgili de Tarragona.

Currently photovoltaic cells are capable of turning solar light into electricity. However, there are many obstacles that prevent their use on a large scale

with the main one being their relatively high cost (0.02 euros per watt generated). The low efficiency of silicon based solar cells at around 17 per cent is another key factor holding back their widespread acceptance.

Most solar cells are made of silicon which is relatively cheap to produce but these solar cells are only capable of generating electricity from the visible part of the sun spectrum. Until now the infrared region of the spectrum was not being harvested.

“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,” explained Professor Francisco Meseguer from the  CSIC, at the joint lab  UPV/CSIC.

“What we have done is create photovoltaic cells on silicon micrometre scale sphere, where infrared light is trapped until it is absorbed turning it into electricity,” added Moisés Garín, a researcher from the CSIC and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya.

M. Garín, R. Fenollosa, R. Alcubilla, L. Shi, L.F. Marsal y F. Meseguer. All-silicon spherical-Mie-resonator photodiode with spectral response in the infrared region. DOI:10.1038/ncomms4440

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