L R AS Published on Sunday 10 October 2021 - n° 377 - Categories:R&D
Ultra-thin solar cell, only 80 nanometres thick
The University of Cambridge (UK) has produced an 'ultra-thin' solar cell, just 80 nanometres thick, using gallium arsenide. The III-V cell
has achieved a conversion efficiency of 9.08%. Its designers have shown in simulations that it could reach 16% with further optimisation.
Gallium arsenide (GaAs) and other Group III-V cell materials have long been an area of interest for researchers working in solar photovoltaics because of their very high efficiency potential. However, the cost of these materials has limited them to niche applications such as drones and space travel.
Making devices thinner, minimising the use of valuable materials, is a well-explored approach to reducing manufacturing cost. However, maintaining high yields becomes a challenge when thickness is reduced, as there is less material available to absorb light. The addition of light management structures can trap photons longer and increase their chances of being absorbed and converted into electricity. This is the approach taken by scientists at the University of Cambridge, who aim to overcome the efficiency problems of ultrathin devices, allowing them to take advantage of their lower weight and intrinsic resistance to radiation.
PV Magazine of 6 October 2021