Cambridge, Mass. – A team at MIT has found a new approach that could reduce the thickness of the silicon used in solar panels by more than 90% while still maintaining high efficiency, according to a report by the Institute’s news service.
Highly purified silicon represents up to 40% of the total cost of conventional solar-cell arrays, which means maximizing power output while minimizing silicon usage could be a major advance in the field.
The new method discovered by a team at MIT involves a pattern of tiny inverted pyramids etched into the surface of the silicon, which can trap rays of light as effectively as conventional solid silicon surfaces that are 30 times thicker, according to their findings.
The work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sunshot Program and by the National Science Foundation.
Image credit: MIT news service