Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nanostructures improve solar cell efficiency

Abstract:
To make solar cells a competitive alternative to other renewable energy sources, researchers are investigating different alternatives. A step in the right direction is through new processes that change the surfaces of silicon solar cells. By creating different nanostructures on the surfaces, the energy harvesting properties of solar cells can be improved.

Nanostructures improve solar cell efficiency

Italy | Posted on May 28th, 2011

Within the EU-funded research project N2P (Nano To Production) researchers work on nanostructured surfaces of solar cells. At the Fraunhofer Institute in Dresden, Germany, researchers have focused on the development of atmospheric pressure plasma chemical etching (AP-PCE) processes. This technology is as an alternative to the wet chemical processing approach, used in the solar industry. The advantages of AP-PCE over the etching technology based on wet chemical processing are, for example, reduced chemical waste, cost efficiency and reduced handling. AP-PCE is used for modifying crystalline silicon solar wafers‚ surfaces down to the nanoscale. The researchers have achieved a one-percent improvement in solar cell efficiency, from 16 to 17 percent, by making the rear surface very smooth.

Within the N2P research project scientists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Neuchatel, Switzerland, are instead working on improving different solar cells, the thin film silicon solar cells. Currently, these solar cells can only harvest about seven percent of the sunlight, which is about 40 percent less efficient compared to conventional wafer silicon cells. However, the thin film solar cells are cheaper and more eco-friendly because their production demands less time, material and energy. The researchers in Switzerland are changing the top glass structure of the solar cell, by depositing a layer of nanosized crystals from a transparent conductive oxide (TCO) onto the glass. This layer gives a high scattering effect and the light beam generates more electrons when it travels a longer distance though the cell, which enhances the cell‚s light absorption. The researchers have managed to achieve a 30 percent increase in efficiency in comparison with stand
ard thin film solar cells.

Another process that could increase the efficiency of thin film silicon solar cells, through changing the surface structures, includes ultrafast pulsed laser irradiation. Researchers at Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology have shown that this irradiation makes a nanospike pattern on the silicon surface which reduces reflection of the light from the surface. More light will therefore be absorbed.

New processes which create nanostructured surfaces are improving solar cell efficiency substantially. With lower manufacturing costs in the future the interest in solar cell investments may increase impressively.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Elisabeth Schmid
Phone: +39 02 7002572
Fax: +39 02 7002540
E-mail:

Copyright © youris.com

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Scientists change properties of zeolites to improve hemodialysis July 29th, 2016

Novel state of matter: Observation of a quantum spin liquid July 29th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Lonely atoms, happily reunited July 29th, 2016

Discoveries

Scientists change properties of zeolites to improve hemodialysis July 29th, 2016

Novel state of matter: Observation of a quantum spin liquid July 29th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Lonely atoms, happily reunited July 29th, 2016

Announcements

Scientists change properties of zeolites to improve hemodialysis July 29th, 2016

Novel state of matter: Observation of a quantum spin liquid July 29th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Lonely atoms, happily reunited July 29th, 2016

Energy

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Designing climate-friendly concrete, from the nanoscale up: New understanding of concrete’s properties could increase lifetime of the building material, decrease emissions July 25th, 2016

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Researchers discover key mechanism for producing solar cells: Better understanding of perovskite solar cells could boost widespread use July 21st, 2016

Solar/Photovoltaic

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Researchers discover key mechanism for producing solar cells: Better understanding of perovskite solar cells could boost widespread use July 21st, 2016

The future of perovskite solar cells has just got brighter -- come rain or shine: Korean researchers at POSTECH have succeeded in developing high-efficiency perovskite solar cells that retain excellent performance over two months in a very humid condition July 21st, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic