[ Read the Article: Nanotubes Let Solar Cells Capture Heat And Light ]
Capturing the energy of the Sun efficiently is no small task, but researchers at MIT say they’ve made a huge solar leap. The team has developed a novel technology by inserting a two-layer absorber-emitter device between sunlight and a photovoltaic cell that collects energy from a broad-spectrum of sunlight, which heats up in the process. The novel materials include carbon nanotubes and photonic crystals. In the past, silicon based products have been used but they aren’t very efficient as they miss many wavelengths of light. The new technology using sunlight to heat high-temperature material whose infrared radiation would then be collected by the PV cell could possibly produce an over 80% efficiency as opposed to the traditional 33.7% efficiency. The energy collected from this method could be stored and then later converted to electricity.