Although there are many materials from which solar cells can be developed, group III nitride semiconductors have many advantages over current materials.

There is an emerging material family with the potential to convert almost the full spectrum of sunlight – from the infrared, visible and ultraviolet radiation – to electrical current.

InGaN solar cells, if successful, promise to be long lasting, relatively inexpensive and importantly, the most efficient ever created.

The potential comes from the fact that InGaN has a direct band gap with wide tunability.

These properties allow more energy from the solar spectrum to be captured efficiently into the cell and converted to power.

This is because a photon can only be efficiently absorbed into the semiconductor material if the photon energy is higher than the band gap of the semiconductor.

To date, solar cells have been capable of a maximum efficiency of 41.1 per cent and only in the most advanced laboratory technologies.

Most commercial solar cells however are retailed at efficiencies between 5-28pc.

This is due to the fact that commonly used materials either have a high or indirect band gap limiting their potential.