Boosting Solar Power by Splitting Light

Credit: Dan Hixon / University of Utah

Credit: Dan Hixon / University of Utah routinely tracks developments in the solar power industry due to its extreme significance for life off-Earth. Every increase in solar cell efficiency means a reduction either increased power in space, or on other worlds, or a reduction in the amount of mass required to supply a given amount of power. has an interesting interesting article discussing a new way to increase solar cell efficiency by using a filter to separate different spectrums of light.

From the article:

“University of Utah electrical engineers have designed a thin layer made of a transparent plastic or glass that sorts and concentrates sunlight to boost the overall efficiency of solar cells by up to 50 percent. This layer, called a polychromat, can be integrated into the cover glass of a solar panel. It could also be used to boost power efficiency in a cellphone or improve low light conditions for a camera.”

The use of the polychromat allows more photons from across the entire spectrum of light, rather than just visible light, to enter the solar cells. Also, unlike a number of other advances in solar power which are underway, according to the authors, this will not require an expensive new manufacturing process, and can be produced with relative ease.


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