Evolution Inspires More Efficient Organic Solar Cell Design

January 26th, 2013 | Posted by paul in Uncategorized
McCormick researchers have designed a geometrically-patterned light scattering layer that could make solar cells more efficient and less expensive.

McCormick researchers have designed a geometrically-patterned light scattering layer that could make solar cells more efficient and less expensive.

From Northwestern University:

In a potentially breakthrough discovery, researchers at Northwestern University have designed a new type of organic solar cell that will very likely lead to much higher efficiency and cheaper solar power.

The new cell design is based around a new geometrical pattern to be used in the ‘scattering layer’ of a solar cell, which works to keep the light trapped in the cell for longer.

The specific geometrical pattern was obtained by using a mathematical search algorithm modeled on natural evolution to identify the optimal design “for capturing and holding light in thin-cell organic solar cells.”

“The resulting design exhibited a three-fold increase over the Yablonovitch Limit, a thermodynamic limit developed in the 1980s that statistically describes how long a photon can be trapped in a semiconductor.”

According to the researchers, the new design will greatly increase the efficiency of organic solar cells.

It’s currently planned for solar cells, with the pattern in question to be fabricated with partners at Argonne National Laboratory.

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