Researchers at the University of Connecticut in the US have developed a ‘green’ antenna that can double the efficiencies of certain kinds of solar cells, while making them more affordable.
The existing silicon solar cells available in the market can convert light from about 600 to 1,000nm into electricity, but fail to do so in the 350 to 600nm range, also known as blue part of the light spectrum.
To overcome this drawback, a research team led by University of Connecticut biological and physical chemistry professor Challa Kumar developed an artificial green antenna using biological and non-toxic materials, which can collect those unused blue photons.
The photons will then be converted in to lower energy photons using organic dyes which the silicon can turn into current.
In addition to being inexpensive, the method is expected lead to the emission of more silicon friendly photons.
Kumar said: "Most of the light from the sun is emitted over a very broad window of wavelengths.
"If you want to use solar energy to produce electric current, you want to harvest as much of that spectrum as possible."
The lab prototypes of solar cells are expected to have higher efficiencies when compared to that of commercial solar cells that have a maximum efficiency rate of 25%, the American Chemical Society said.
The research team and awith Connecticut-based firm are currently working to find out how the antennas can be integrated into commercial solar cells.
Image: Commercial solar cells have a maximum of 25% efficiency rate. Photo: TodorovNikifor/iStock/Thinkstock/ American Chemical Society.