New ways of squeezing out greater efficiency from solar photovoltaic cells are emerging from computer simulations and lab tests conducted by a team of physicists and engineers at MIT. Using computer modeling and a variety of advanced chip-manufacturing techniques, they have applied an antireflection coating to the front, and a novel combination of multi-layered reflective coatings and a tightly spaced array of lines—called a diffraction grating—to the backs of ultrathin silicon films to boost the cells’ output by as much as 50 percent. «more»

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Boosting the power of solar cells: New research could lead to higher output, lower cost

Professor John D. Joannopoulos

Dr. Peter A. Bermel

RLE ab initio Physics Group