Aluminium oxide layer improves solar cells efficiency by over 1pc

May 15th, 2008 - 3:01 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 15 (ANI): A collaborative study by experts at Eindhoven University of Technology and Fraunhofer Institute has helped improve the efficiency of solar cells by more than one per cent.

The researchers revealed that they used an ultra-thin aluminium oxide layer at the front of the cell to enhance its efficiency, bringing a breakthrough in the use of solar energy a step closer.

They said that the latest development could enable solar cell manufacturers to greatly increase the performance of their products because higher efficiency might offer a very effective way of reducing the cost price of solar energy.

According to them, the costs of applying the thin layer of aluminium oxide are expected to be relatively low, which means a significant reduction in the cost of producing solar electricity.

Bram Hoex of Eindhoven University of Technology was able to achieve the increase in efficiency by depositing an ultra-thin layer (approximately 30 nanometer) of aluminium oxide on the front of a crystalline silicon solar cell.

While only 21.9 per cent of all sunlight falling on such cells would be converted into electrical energy, about 23.2 per cent of the sunlight can now get converted into electricity energy.

Hoex made this advance as part of a research project that earned him his PhD last week at the Applied Physics department of the TU/e.

He was supported by professor Richard van de Sanden and associate professor Erwin Kessels in the Plasma & Materials Processing (PMP) research group, which specializes in plasma deposition of extremely thin layers.

Several major solar cell manufacturers have evinced interest in the ultra-thin aluminium oxide layer developed in the PMP group. (ANI)

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