Princeton researchers have found a simple and economic way to nearly triple the efficiency of organic solar cells, the cheap and flexible plastic devices that many scientists believe could be the future of solar power.
Chou said the research team used nanotechnology to overcome two primary challenges that cause solar cells to lose energy: light reflecting from the cell, and the inability to fully capture light that enters the cell. With their new metallic sandwich, the researchers were able to address both problems.
The sandwich – called a subwavelength plasmonic cavity – has an extraordinary ability to dampen reflection and trap light. 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...
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