Solar cells are cute and all, but let’s be real — these things are far too inefficient for mainstream use. Scientists at the California Institute of Technology are working hard to remedy that very issue, and they’ve recently concocted a “new type of flexible solar cell that enhances the absorption of sunlight and efficiently converts its photons into electrons.” The solution relies on arrays of long, thin silicon wires embedded onto a polymer substrate, which uses just a fraction of the expensive semiconductor materials required by conventional solar cells. According to professor Harry Atwater, these cells have “surpassed the conventional light-trapping limit for absorbing materials” for the first time, and we’re told that the arrays can convert between 90 and 100 percent of the photons they absorb into electrons, and yes, that does mean that they have a near-perfect internal quantum efficiency. Hit the source link for all the technobabble, and cross your fingers for this stuff to get the honored approval of the Governator.
Caltech gurus whip up highly efficient, low cost flexible solar cell originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 28 Feb 2010 01:11:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.