Princeton Solar Cell is “Black Hole for Light”

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

A great deal of the light that falls on solar cell panels does little to generate electricity, with a high percentage bouncing off pointlessly.  Princeton researchers have confronted this issue with a layered assembly, otherwise known as a subwavelength  plasmonic cavity. Developed by Princeton University researcher Stephen Chou and a team of scientists, the cavity dampens reflections and traps light.  According to Princeton’s announcement, “The new technique allowed Chou’s team to create a solar cell that only reflects about 4 percent of light and absorbs as much as 96 percent. It demonstrates 52 percent higher efficiency in converting [direct] light to electrical energy than a conventional solar cell.” Overall, the team was able to increase solar cell efficiency a total …

Spinach, Photosynthesis, and Solar Energy

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Spinach is the Rodney Dangerfield of the vegetable kingdom, and despite the best efforts of nutritionists, Popeye, and school lunch ladies to boost its respect levels, goes unwanted by many. But not by the team at Vanderbilt University who have combined it with silicon in a “biohybrid” solar cell. According to Vanderbilt’s David Cliffel, associate professor of chemistry, “This combination produces current levels almost 1,000 times higher than we were able to achieve by depositing the protein on various types of metals. It also produces a modest increase in voltage.” Cliffel collaborated on the project with Kane Jennings, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. “If we can continue on our current trajectory of increasing voltage and current levels, we could …