Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers enable solar cells to use more sunlight

25.02.2015

Scientists of the University of Luxembourg and of the Japanese electronics company TDK report progress in photovoltaic research: they have improved a component that will enable solar cells to use more energy of the sun and thus create a higher current.

The improvement concerns a conductive oxide film which now has more transparency in the infrared region. Similar attempts had been made before, but this is the first time that these films were prepared by a one-step process and, at the same time, stable in air.

“The films made at the University of Luxembourg have been exposed to air for one and half years and are still as conductive as when they were fresh prepared”, says Prof. Susanne Siebentritt, head of the laboratory for photovoltaics at the University of Luxembourg.

“It is a fantastic result, not only for solar cells, but also for a range of other technologies”, she adds. Collaborators of this study were Dr. Matěj Hála, research associate in the laboratory for photovoltaics and Shohei Fujii and Yukari Inoue, visiting scientists from TDK.

Transparent conductive oxides are used in any device combining electronics and light, like LEDs, solar cells, photodetectors or even touch screens. They have the particularity to combine the properties of metals, which are the best electrical conductors known, with those of oxides, which usually are transparent but not conductive, as for example glass. In solar cells the film has to be conductive because it constitutes the upper electrode. At the same time it has to be transparent in order for sunlight to reach the layer underneath, where the current is formed.

The oxides forming this film can be made conductive by deliberately adding impurities. Zinc oxide with aluminium added is a widely used example. In this case, the aluminium adds free electrons to the zinc oxide which are responsible for the conductivity. However, these free electrons also absorb infrared light. That means that less sun energy can pass through.

The team of the University of Luxembourg and TDK have modified the process used to make the film in order to make pure zinc oxide more conductive. “Our multidisciplinary team, benefitting from the exchange of knowledge across countries, had the idea to add an additional component - another gas plasma - in the so called sputter process. This makes the material conductive even without aluminium.” explains Prof. Siebentritt.

This method enables to have less but faster moving free electrons. “With this result, the conductivity is similar to the one with aluminium, but it enables a much better transparency in the infrared region as less free electrons cause also less absorption. That makes solar cells more efficient”, adds Dr. Matěj Hála. The findings are now published in the respected journal "Progress in Photovoltaics".

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.uni.lu - University of Luxembourg

Britta Schlüter | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Switched-on DNA
20.02.2017 | Arizona State University

nachricht Using a simple, scalable method, a material that can be used as a sensor is developed
15.02.2017 | University of the Basque Country

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>