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A prototype of a new type of photovoltaic (PV) cell that generates electricity from visible, infrared and ultraviolet light has been demonstrated by a group of Japanese scientists. It could lead to the development of a highly-efficient PV cell in the future, without needing multijunction cells.

The research was led by Associate Professor Saki Sonoda of the Kyoto Institute of Technology. The prototype cell has a high open voltage (Voc) at around two volts, but a low energy conversion efficiency. Sonada and the team hope the conversion rates can be improved.

Photovoltaic materials convert light to electricity at the atomic level by absorbing photons of light and releasing electrons that can be captured to produce an electric current. Most PV cells are multijunction devices, with single junction cells stacked in descending order of band gap. The cell at the top captures high-energy photons, while those at the bottom with lower band gaps capture the lower energy photons. The new cell is able to capture photons with a wide range of energies in a single junction cell.
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As an aspiring scientist, it's always a pleasure to see development in solar energy. But if energy efficiency is an issue, I don't see these going anywhere in the market (to be expected of course, they cite it as such). PV cells are pretty expensive as it is, and it's a shame because they could be one of our best energy alternatives if we harness energy conversion and output per cell. Considering that many of the active users on this forum consume a lot of power for Folding, benching, etc., I think many can agree that an affordable market for cells will benefit us all.
Not to mention the toxicity of current polysilicon layers, the need for inverters and arrays, etc. Solar energy has a future, it's just going to take time.
 

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On the other hand, a simpler PV cell could be better for satellites and space stations.
 

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Originally Posted by MrDeodorant View Post
On the other hand, a simpler PV cell could be better for satellites and space stations.
Indeed, though I'm not too well versed in satellite production

P.S. thanks for making the science news section awesome
 
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