The record was set using a 28 cm2 four-junction mini-module embedded in a prism that divides the incoming rays into four bands.

A hybrid four-junction receiver will be used to squeeze more energy from each beam of sunlight.

The UNSW mini-module integrates a silicon cell on one face of a glass prism, with a triple-junction solar cell on the other.

The triple junction cell is made up of a layer each of indium-gallium-phosphide; indium-gallium-arsenide and germanium.

Each layer uses different light bandwidth to produce electricity.

The conversion efficiency of the prismatic solar cell has been confirmed by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and is almost 44% more efficient than the earlier record set by Alta Devices.

University of New South Wales senior researcher Mark Keevers said: "This encouraging result shows that there are still advances to come in photovoltaics research to make solar cells even more efficient.

"Extracting more energy from every beam of sunlight is critical to reducing the cost of electricity generated by solar cells as it lowers the investment needed, and delivering payback faster."

In 2014, the same UNSW team was behind another world record, achieving more than 40% solar efficiency by using mirrors that concentrated sunlight onto a small area.

Image: Dr Mark Keevers with one of the spectrum splitting, four-junction mini-modules developed at UNSW.. Photo: Courtesy of University of New South Wales.