Researchers at Stanford University may have reached a breakthrough in their efforts to improve solar efficiency and affordability. According to Stanford University News, the scientists discovered that "by properly configuring the thicknesses of several thin layers of films, an organic polymer thin film could absorb as much as 10 times more energy from sunlight than was thought possible."
Using a principle known as "light trapping," the scientists hope that by keeping light in the solar cell for as long as possible, they can improve the chances that the light photon will be absorbed. By reducing the scale of light trapping in solar panels from macro (silicon cells) to nano, it's apparent that there is potential for achieving higher efficiencies in photovoltaics. Not only that, but nano-scale materials are far less expensive than silicon panels, so this is a potentially revolutionary discovery.
- Mitchell Flexo
Photo: Dow Chemical's ultra-thin solar shingles. (via US Infrastructure)