Researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter are one step closer to developing a new generation of low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells. The structure is one of the world's first examples of a tri-layer metasurface absorber using a carbon interlayer.
The focused ion beam fabricated trilayer metasurface within the inset shows rounded features in the upper 2-D gold square periodic surface.
Credit: University of Bristol
The system, developed by Chenglong Wang a PhD student in Professor Martin Cryan's research group, uses amorphous carbon as an inter-layer between thin gold films with the upper film patterned with a 2D periodic array using focused ion beam etching.
The trilayer gold-carbon-gold metasurface strongly absorbs light across the solar spectrum but minimises emission of thermal radiation from the structure. The use of gold in the research is a first step towards a high temperature metasurface where gold can be replaced by other refractory metals such as tungsten or chrome.
The cell will be used for solar thermal energy applications and has the potential to reach much higher temperatures than simple black surfaces because it can minimise the emission of thermal radiation.
The metasurface has been developed as part of a joint project, led by Dr Neil Fox, between Bristol's Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Schools of Physics and Chemistry.
The aim of this project is to develop diamond-based solar thermionic devices, which use sunlight to get surfaces sufficiently hot that they emit electrons directly into a vacuum. If these electrons are collected at a cooled anode, electrical energy can be produced with maximum efficiencies predicted to be much higher than is achievable using conventional silicon solar cells.
Martin Cryan, Professor of Applied Electromagnetics and Photonics in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, said: "Integrating diamond within metasurfaces is very challenging, and this paper is a first step in that direction using amorphous carbon. The next stage is to carry out high temperature testing on the structures and to attempt to reach the ~700 degrees celsius required to obtain efficient thermionic emission."
The Bristol team have been working with Professor Tapas Mallick from the University of Exeter to develop the low-cost solar concentrator systems.
Joanne Fryer | EurekAlert!
Did you know that the wrapping of Easter eggs benefits from specialty light sources?
13.04.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH
To e-, or not to e-, the question for the exotic 'Si-III' phase of silicon
05.04.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences