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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

14/01/09: World Record: 41.1% efficiency reached for multi-junction solar cells at Fraunhofer ISE

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have achieved a record efficiency of 41.1% for the conversion of sunlight into electricity.

Sunlight is concentrated by a factor of 454 and focused onto a small 5 mm² multi-junction solar cell made out of GaInP/GaInAs/ Ge (gallium indium phosphide, gallium indium arsenide on a germanium substrate). In contrast to conventional solar cells, the semiconductors in these cells do not have the same lattice constant (distance between the atoms in a crystalline structure). This makes it difficult to grow the III-V semiconductor layers with a high crystal quality. The researchers at Fraunhofer ISE have managed to localize the defects in a region of the solar cell that is not electrically active. This metamorphic crystal growth now enables the researchers to use a much larger range of III-V compound semiconductors for growing their multi-junction solar cells. … Source: Fraunhofer ISE

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