Researchers at MIT has developed a new kind of solar cell that is capable of harnessing light in the infrared region of the spectrum, unlike the conventional solar cells. It implies that here after we could utilize the entire range of sunlight. The discovery is considered to be a milestone in solar cell technology.
This is also the first all-carbon solar cell. It is actually made of two types of carbon, namely carbon nanotubes and C60, which is also known as buckyballs. The nanotubes are placed in a perfectly uniform configuration in the cell. Since the build material of the cell is transparent to visible light. So it is more effective in capturing sunlight in the near-infrared region.
MIT News mentions that the newly developed cell could be used upon the conventional solar cells. Such an arrangement will make for a tandem device that could harness most of the solar energy.
However, Rishabh Jain, a graduate student and lead author of this research paper on the new solar cell said the system will require further research and that his team is on the path to make high-efficiency near-infrared solar cells.
The researchers are of the opinion that even a low-efficiency cell that works in that region could be worthwhile as long as the cost is low. Since the cell is made of nanoscale materials, the cell would require only small amounts of the highly purified carbon. It will also make the cell light in weight.