US Team Builds Solar Cell With 44.5 Percent Efficiency

GaSb technology captures nearly all of the energy in the solar spectrum

Scientists at George Washington University and the US Naval Research Laboratory and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have built a prototype for a new solar cell that is capable of capturing nearly all of the energy in the solar spectrum, resulting in 44.5 percent conversion efficiency.

The new device, which is based on GaSb, integrates multiple cells stacked into a single device and uses lenses to concentrate sunlight onto the tiny, micro-scale solar cells.

“Around 99 percent of the power contained in direct sunlight reaching the surface of Earth falls between wavelengths of 250 nm and 2500 nm, but conventional materials for high-efficiency multi-junction solar cells cannot capture this entire spectral range," said Matthew Lumb, lead author of the study and a research scientist at the GW School of Engineering and Applied Science.


“Our new device is able to unlock the energy stored in the long-wavelength photons, which are lost in conventional solar cells, and therefore provides a pathway to realising the ultimate multi-junction solar cell."

While scientists have worked towards more efficient solar cells for years, this approach has two novel aspects. First, it uses a family of materials based on GaSb substrates, which are usually found in applications for infra-red lasers and photodetectors. The novel GaSb-based solar cells are assembled into a stacked structure along with high efficiency solar cells grown on conventional substrates that capture shorter wavelength solar photons. In addition, the stacking procedure uses transfer-printing, which enables 3D assembly of the devices with a high degree of precision.

This particular solar cell is very expensive, however researchers believe it was important to show the upper limit of what is possible in terms of efficiency and they think the technique used to create the cells shows much promise. The research builds off of the advancements made by the MOSAIC Program, a $24 million research project funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).'GaSb-based Solar Cells for Full Solar Spectrum Energy Harvesting' was published in Advanced Energy Materials.

Managing Board Of SMA Solar Technology Raises Forecast For Current Fiscal Year
Feature: The Future Of Renewable Energy Finance Investment
Toshiba Introduces Enterprise-Class SSDs With 64-Layer 3D Flash Memory
Sunseap Group Receives Investment From Shell
TrinaBESS Achieves More Than 1000 Sets Of TrinaHome Shipment In First Half Of 2017
BYD And KOSTAL Partner To Provide High Voltage Energy Storage – Simply Smart Connected
Power Specialist Smith Brothers Sets Its Sights On Solar
Ascent Solar Delivers First Shipment Of Thin-Film Modules For High Altitude Aerospace Application
KACO Sells 1.4 Gigawatts Of Inverter Power In The First Half-year
Schneider Electric India Commissions 720 KWp Solar Plant At Its Manufacturing Facility In Vadodara
UK Touching 13 GW Of Solar Power Installed
Cubico Raises US$ 450 Million In Debt For 600 MW Projects In Mexico
Ireland's National Mitigation Plan - A Disconnected Plan For An 'All Of Government Approach To Climate Change'
SFS Program Allows For Energy Storage Without Capital Investment
Imec Reports Record Perovskite Conversion Efficiency
Rochester Group Uses III-V Nanowires To Capture More Solar Energy
ABB Wins $30 Million Order To Support Integration Of Renewables In Germany
Greencoat Renewables Raise €270 Million Through Irish IPO
Africa’s Largest Telco Partners With Fenix International To Launch Off-grid Solar In Zambia
BlackRock Real Assets Closes Spanish Solar Debt Investment
Cubico Completes Acquisition Of 2 Concentrated Solar Power Plants In Spain
Mongoose Energy Announce UK’s Biggest Community Energy Deal
More Praise For SOLARWATT As Experts Award Top Rating For PV Panels
BayWa R.e. Success In Malaysia’s First Ever Large Scale Solar Auction

Your First Name
Your Email Address
Next »Close
Search the news archive

To close this popup you can press escape or click the close icon.
Register - Step 1

You may choose to subscribe to the Solar Magazine, the Solar Newsletter, or both. You may also request additional information if required, before submitting your application.

Please subscribe me to:


You chose the industry type of "Other"

Please enter the industry that you work in:
Please enter the industry that you work in: