MIT Research Could Dramatically Improve Solar Cell Efficiency
An artistís rendering of the extraction of electrons from a solar cell during a photo incident. Researchers at MIT have proven that this occurrence can knock loose more than one electron -- achieving a singlet exciton fission process -- breaking the previous limit and paving the way to improve the efficiency of solar cells beyond the current 34 percent theoretical limit. (Source: MIT/Christine Daniloff)
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.
Pentacene, this compound, which is a purple powder, slowly degrades upon exposure to air and light. This is greath ideea to improve overall solar cells effciency but is just a research result. I hope it will find a way (somehow) to production or will trigger additional ideeas in this direction....
Agree, Lou, perhaps the headline should have been changed during editing before the story was posted. But I think the idea is this potentially could set a precedent for the future development of solar cells in a way that's very different from what's happening now, so in some ways I guess the case could be made for a "dramatic" improvement. Point taken, though.
While I'm no Physicist or Chemist, I'm having a hard time understanding 1.09 electrons per photon.
Putting that aside, it was 1983 when I wrote my Thesis for my Bachelor's degree on the topic of Photovoltaic cell manufacturing. At the time, the exchange elements being used were Boron and Silicone, and the energy efficiency yield was generally accepted to be at about 10%.
So, today, 30 years later, its now 30%, and MIT considers this a breakthrough. Seems like an average efficiency improvement of about 1% per year. ( * sigh * ) It's a long, slow road, but I guess it's still progress.
This is one area of research that I believe is eventually going to pay off significantly in terms of conserving natural energy resources.The efficiency gains may not be huge for now, but it's a step in the right direction. Ultimately, it's bringing us closer to an eco-friendly environment.
Thanks for the the informative article Elizabeth. I think it is a huge discovery and a big advancement. And it can further lead to more research in this area, because the results from this experiment are very positive. But still the change in percentage from 25% to around 30% efficiency is not that huge to cause a big difference.
Electricity produced from solar energy is still not comparable to that produced from other resources like hydropower and batteries etc. For example, one cannot run high load house appliances like air conditioner, referigerator etc from solar cells. So still there is a long way to go. Nonetheless, a great acheivement for future research.