Invisible Wires Developed by Stanford Scientists to Boost Solar Cell Efficiency Drastically

Published Date : Nov 26, 2015

Efficiency in the solar industry has grown by leaps and bounds, all thanks to the intensive research and development initiatives undertaken by researchers around the world. The rising efficiency in the solar power market has helped to make solar cheaper and accessible in different parts of the world.

Another latest innovation called ‘invisible wires’ is promising to improve solar cell efficiency significantly. Scientists at Stanford have discovered how to construct the electrical wiring on top of solar cells almost invisible to the incoming light. This innovative design deploys silicon nanopillars to conceal the wires. This technology is projected to boost the efficiency of solar cells dramatically.

The finding related to this research has been published in the journal ACS Nano. This technology is expected to lead to a new paradigm in the design and fabrication of solar cells. According to the lead author Vijay Narasimhan, by deploying nanotechnology they have developed an innovative way to manufacture the upper metal contact pretty much invisible to incoming light. He further said that their new technique has the potential to significantly boost the efficiently and lower the cost of solar cells.

The team created nanosized pillars made of silicon that tend to tower above the gold film and direct the light before it reaches the metallic surface. Making these silicon nanopillars was a one-step chemical process. Besides silicon, this innovative technology can be used with other semiconducting materials for a majority of applications such as light emitting diodes, photo sensors, displays, transparent batteries, and solar cells.

According to Cui, the Co-director of the Department of Energy’s BAPVC, with a majority of optoelectronic devices, one typically constructs the semiconductor and the metal contacts separately. Their results display a new paradigm in which these components are designed and fabricated collectively to make a high-performance interface.