Nanowires At 1/10000 The Size Of Human Hair Break Solar Cell Efficiency Limits

By: | July 26th, 2013

Building Solar Cells Nanowire By Nanowire

The solar cell efficiency limit, known as the “Shockley Queisser Limit” (SQL) has held for many years. But recent research using nanowires seems to show that scientists will soon be able to harvest solar power at much higher levels of efficiency than SQL would dictate.

A Paradigm Shift

In the Journal of Science in January a group of scientists demonstrated that nanowires soak up or concentrate the sun’s rays at unprecedented levels.

In a more recent study in Nature Photonics Journal scientists have been getting better results by improving the quality of nanowires with a cylindrical structure and a diameter about 1/10000 of a human hair. When sun shines on these crystals it is highly concentrated, at up to 15 times higher than normal sunlight resulting in a higher conversion efficiency with each nanowire behaving as if it is gathering light from an area eight times larger than its physical size. These extremely thin nanowires increase the resonance and intensity of light.

David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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