Department News

Apr 23, 2020 - OU Physicists Develop New Approach to Increase Performance of Solar Energy

Experimental condensed matter physicists in the Department of Physics at the University of Oklahoma have developed an approach to circumvent a major loss process that currently limits the efficiency of commercial solar cells.

Members of the Photovoltaic Materials and Devices Group, led by OU associate professor in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, Ian Sellers, along with theorists at Arizona State University, led by David K. Ferry, have demonstrated a breakthrough toward the development of a hot carrier solar cell.

A hot carrier solar cell is a device that reduces heat losses in the material and could increase the efficiency of solar cells by more than 20%, which would be a significant breakthrough for solar energy. Although this device has been the source of a considerable amount of research over the last 10 to 15 years, the realization of a practical solution to this challenging problem has thus far eluded researchers.

This new approach, recently published in the journal Nature Energy, demonstrates significant progress in the realization of the hot carrier solar cell and the potential for ultrahigh-efficiency single junction semiconductor devices, which would revolutionize the field of photovoltaics and renewable energy generation.

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