Another development to improve the efficiency of solar panels has been announced by researchers from Princeton University led by professor Stephen Chou. By using a nanostructured "sandwich" of metal and plastic, the efficiency of thin film solar collectors was improved by 175 percent.
The nanoscale lattice on top of the sandwich is able to trap light with openings called a "plasmonic cavity with subwavelength hole array" or PlaCSH. The layer is made of gold and is only 30 nanometers thick. Each hole is 175 nanometers in diameter and spaced 25 nanometers apart. The opening is smaller than the wavelength of light, which traps it rather than allowing it to reflect off the collector, which leads to improved conversion of light to electricity.
The mesh layer also replaces the indium-tin-oxide (ITO) layer which is typically on top of thin-film solar cells, which is one of the most expensive parts of these cells. The ITO layer is also more brittle, while the PlaCSH is extremely bendable.
image credit: Chou lab
via: Phys Org
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