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MIT Research Could Dramatically Improve Solar Cell Efficiency

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a.saji
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Silver
Re: Progress
a.saji   5/27/2013 11:15:16 AM
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I think we can expect a lot of things favorably from the solar systems in the future. This might help other industries to use them in some way where they can make maximum out of it.                             

Mydesign
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Platinum
Yield from panels
Mydesign   5/28/2013 5:30:41 AM
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Elizebeth, that's great news. As of now the yield from panels are less (production) and hence any improvement in technology may be helpful for a better production. I mean more power from the panels.

Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Re: Yield from panels
Elizabeth M   5/28/2013 6:02:07 AM
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I agree, Mydesign, this bodes well for the future production of more efficient and powerful solar panels. There is a lot of other research in this area that also could provide similar results.

Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Re: Progress
Elizabeth M   5/28/2013 6:13:16 AM
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Indeed, a.saji, with all the research in this area there should be improvements fast. And hopefully one day solar will be seamlessly integrated into more traditional power grids for even more widespread impact.

William K.
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Platinum
Breaking the theoretical barrier
William K.   5/28/2013 10:16:02 AM
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This is an interesting and potentially valuable discovery, that is certain. Proving that some well thought theoretical limit is not a true limit is a worthwhile achievement, no question about that.

But it has been pointed out that pentacine is not really a very stable compound, and that would add quite a bit to the challenge of commercialization. So the path from laboratory discovery to a reproducable experiment will take  some real effort and a few breakthroughs, and achieving a commercially viable realization may require some more fundamental advances. 

One thing that I would wonder about, the increase of 1.09 electrons per 1 photon, equates to 109 per hundred photons, which is just barely beyond the level of uncertainty in some kinds of measurements. So, as in other physics experiments, it would be quite appropriate now for more details to be published so that others could duplicate the experiment. After all, that is the standard process for validating some new claim, which is for others to be able to obtain similar results based on the published data. Sometimes, when results seem to be far better than reality would predict, it is found that those results are not so very correct. I realize the immense pressure to publish these findings prior to others publishing them, so I wish the authors good luck.

jhankwitz
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Platinum
Funding
jhankwitz   5/28/2013 10:41:54 AM
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I hope this article helps them get the funding needed to continue the project.

Jim_E
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Platinum
Thin Film?
Jim_E   5/28/2013 10:58:59 AM
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I wonder if this technology can also be applied to the much cheaper (but less effecient) thin-film solar cells?

Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Re: Thin Film?
Elizabeth M   5/29/2013 6:00:42 AM
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I don't know much about that technology, Jim_E. Can you elaborate?

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Breaking the theoretical barrier
Elizabeth M   5/29/2013 6:03:54 AM
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These are valuable points, William K. As with most research, the path from the lab to commercialization can be longer than expected and filled with trial and error. Perhaps the authors felt pressure to publish, as you suggest, before they had this technology fully baked. But even if it's not the end all be all and only serves to help improve other efforts to boost efficiency of solar cells, it certainly is a good thing.

Jim_E
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Thin Film?
Jim_E   5/29/2013 8:33:47 AM
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Instead of being manufactured on rigid silicon wafers like a traditional solar cell, thin film solar cells can be manufactured on a flexible substrate with a reel to reel process similar to offset printing.  Thin film solar cells can even be constructed into products such as roofing materials, and are much cheaper to manufacture than traditional solar cells.  But, their effeciency is much less compared to traditional solar cells, as is their lifespan. 

There are advances being made, but the whole solar marketplace is in a funk due to Chinese production dumping, and the ending of various government subsidies.

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