The IBM researchers describe their achievement of the thin-film photovoltaic technology in a paper published in Advanced Materials this week, highlighting the solar cell’s potential to accomplish the goal of producing low-cost energy that can be used widely and commercially.
The solar cell development also sets itself apart from its predecessors as it was created using a combination of solution and nanoparticle-based approaches, rather than the popular, but expensive vacuum-based technique. The production change is expected to enable much lower fabrication costs, as it is consistent with high-throughput and high materials utilization based deposition techniques including printing, dip and spray coating and slit casting.
Currently available thin film solar cell modules based upon compound semiconductors operate at 9 to 11 percent efficiency levels, and are primarily made from two costly compounds — copper indium gallium selenide or cadmium telluride. Attempts to create affordable, earth abundant solar cells from related compounds that are free of indium, gallium or cadmium have not exceeded 6.7 percent, compared to IBM’s new 9.6 efficiency rating.
Over the past several years, IBM researchers have pioneered several breakthroughs related to creating inexpensive, efficient solar cells. IBM does not plan to manufacture solar technologies, but is open to partnering with solar cell manufacturers to demonstrate the technology.
For additional insight regarding today’s announcement, visit:http://asmarterplanet.com/
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