Tag Archives: extreme tech

Princeton’s nanomesh nearly triples solar cell efficiency

12/11/2012  A friend stated about this article “This is certainly a step in the right direction by making the cells three times as efficient, which, if the cost remains the same, will make the energy yield about 1/3 the cost of fossil fuels.

If the replacement of the ITO layer reduces the cost to 1/3 or less of the cost of the solar cell itself, this would effectively replace fossil fuels for electricity generation. ”

solar panels

As seen on Extreme Tech:

There is huge potential in solar power. The sun is a giant ball of burning hydrogen in the sky, and it’s going to be sticking around for at least a few more billion years. For all intents and purposes, it’s a free source of energy. Sadly, humanity hasn’t been very good at harnessing its power directly. Our current methods of capturing the sun’s energy are very inefficient. For example, modern silicon and indium-tin-oxide-based solar cells are approaching the theoretical limit of 33.7% efficiency. Well, a research team at Princeton has used nanotechnology to create a mesh that increases efficiency over organic solar cells nearly three fold.

Led by Stephen Chou, the team has made two dramatic improvements: reducing reflectivity, and more effectively capturing the light that isn’t reflected. As you can see by the illustration below by Dimitri Karetnikov, Princeton’s new solar cell is much thinner and less reflective. By utilizing sandwiched plastic and metal with the nanomesh, this so-called “Plasmonic Cavity with Subwavelength Hole array” or “PlaCSH” substantially reduces the potential for losing the light itself. In fact, it only reflects about 4% of direct sunlight, leading to a 52% higher efficiency than conventional, organic solar cells.

Check out the entire article here. Cool stuff!