Solar Energy Harvesting Using 1 Percent of Current Materials

Photovoltaic cells produce electricity directl...
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A study in the journal Nature Materials details the creation of a nanowire-based technology that absorbs solar energy at comparable levels to currently available systems while using only 1 percent of the silicon material needed to capture photons.

Imagine a world where sunlight can be captured to produce electricity anywhere, on any surface. The makers of thin-film flexible solar cells imagine that world too. But a big problem has been the amount of silicon needed to harvest a little sunshine.

Now, researchers [led by Harry A. Atwater] at Caltech say they’ve designed a device* that gets comparable solar absorption while using just one percent of the silicon per unit area that current solar cells need. The work was published in the journal Nature Materials.

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