Feeds

Lumpy nanoparticles improve thin film solar cells

Swinburne and Suntech claim efficiency win

New hybrid storage solutions

A team at Swinburne University in Melbourne is claiming a breakthrough in the efficiency of nanoplasmonic solar cells.

While it’s already feasible to cover the entire glass area of a building with invisible plastic solar cells, they’re nowhere near as efficient as traditional cell types: the very thin silicon layer they use reduces their efficiency at gathering light.

Hence, light trapping technology is a key research focus.

The Swinburne team, working with Chinese giant Suntech Power, have embedded gold and silver nanoparticles into nanoplasmonic solar cells. According to Swinburne professor Min Gu, director of the Victoria-Suntech Advanced Solar Facility, the new cells reach an absolute efficiency of 8.1 percent.

The embedded metals improve the conversion of photons into electrons by absorbing light across a wider range of wavelengths.

In addition, the researchers have also demonstrated that using nucleated (“bumpy”) nanoparticles offers scope for further improvements in efficiency. Professor Gu says the group wants to pass 10 percent efficiency this year.

“We are well on track to reach the VSASF’s target to develop solar cells that are twice as efficient and run at half the cost of those currently available,” he said.

Suntech’s participation in the research facility means the work can be commercialized relatively easily. The company expects cells based on the Swinburne technology to be commercially available by 2017.

The current research is published in Nano Letters. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.