From SLAC: “Materials Scientists Make Solar Energy Chip 100 Times More Efficient”

March 19, 2013
Mike Ross

“Scientists working at the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES) have improved an innovative solar-energy device to be about 100 times more efficient than its previous design in converting the sun’s light and heat into electricity.

‘This is a major step toward making practical devices based on our technique for harnessing both the light and heat energy provided by the sun,’ said Nicholas Melosh, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford and a researcher with SIMES, a joint SLAC/Stanford institute.

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Nick Melosh (left), associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford and a researcher with SIMES, and graduate student Jared Schwede. (Credit: Brad Plummer / SLAC)

The new device is based on the photon-enhanced thermionic emission (PETE) process first demonstrated in 2010 by a group led by Melosh and SIMES colleague Zhi-Xun Shen, who is SLAC’s advisor for science and technology. In a report last week in Nature Communications, the group described how they improved the device’s efficiency from a few hundredths of a percent to nearly 2 percent, and said they expect to achieve at least another 10-fold gain in the future.”

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Part of a 2-inch-diameter gallium-arsenide wafer used as a base for photon-enhanced thermionic emission chips. (Credit: Brad Plummer / SLAC)

This is exciting news for Clean Energy. See the full article here.

SLAC Campus
SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.
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