New Nanophotonics Design Makes Solar Cells More Efficient


New Nanophotonics Design Makes Solar Cells More Efficient

30 October 2013
 
A team of international researchers has come up with a new technique that can successfully bolster the efficiency of solar cells, building on knowledge gathered on materials known as quasi-crystals which are beneficial with regard to the spectrum of light they can capture, Nanowerk News reports.
 
With the new approach, the scientists accomplished highly efficient broadband light trapping in thin films, catching more light to enhance absorption and power generation.
 
Quasi-crystals have strong light capturing qualities but their properties are hard to align with specific applications, due to the lack of design tools available with periodic structures. In order to overcome these restrictions, the researchers designed a new structure, named a quasi-random structure, which brings together quasi-crystals' extended spatial frequencies with the high level of control that can be achieved when using periodic structures.
 
The idea of quasi-random structures was developed by Emiliano Martins, from the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St Andrews, and Dr Thomas F Krauss, an Anniversary Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of York. According to Dr Krauss, the implementation of this nanophotonics design in a field such as solar cells is vital for boosting the competitiveness of renewable power generation. The design can be also used in LED, DFB lasers and other light trapping areas, Dr Juntao Li, from the State Key Laboratory of Optoelectronic Materials and Technology, Sun Yat-sen University, said.
 
The team of scientists was led by researchers from the Universities of York and St Andrews. The project, named "Deterministic quasi-random nanostructures for photon control," also involved researchers from Sun Yat-sen University and the GuangDong Polytechnic Normal University, China, and IMEC, Leuven, Belgium.