Antireflection Coatings for Solar Photovoltaic Cell Efficiency

Photovoltaic cell efficiency may soon get a big boost, thanks to next-generation antireflection coatings crafted from nanomaterials capable of cutting down on the amount of light reflected away from a cell's surface.

Materials boasting a "tunable" refractive index have been developed within the past few years, and they show tremendous potential for photovoltaic applications. Professor E. Fred Schubert, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering, is investigating ways to exploit this newly gained controllability and will present his findings at the upcoming AVS 59th International Symposium and Exhibition, held Oct. 28 - Nov. 2, in Tampa, Fla.

The refractive index is the property of a material that changes the speed of light, and is computed as the ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to the speed of light through the material. Among the most fundamental properties of optical materials, the refractive index determines important optical characteristics such as Fresnel reflection, Bragg reflection, Snell refraction, diffraction, and the phase and group velocity of light.

Air and other gases have a refractive index very close to 1.0, but unfortunately aren't viable for thin-film optoelectronic applications. Among transparent dense materials suitable for use in thin-film optoelectronic applications, magnesium fluoride (MgF2) has the lowest refractive index (n=1.39); no dense materials with a lower refractive index are known to exist.

Comments (0)

This post does not have any comments. Be the first to leave a comment below.


Post A Comment

You must be logged in before you can post a comment. Login now.

Featured Product

Parker Wind Power Solutions - Core technologies to help you harness the wind… onshore and offshore

Parker Wind Power Solutions - Core technologies to help you harness the wind… onshore and offshore

Visit Booth #2886 at AWEA Windpower, May 22-25 in Anaheim, CA to see how Parker products, systems and services help you raise performance while reducing risk in wind energy environments. Parker has been on the forefront of windpower for over two decades, with solutions that touch virtually every critical function in the turbine. From integrated lube oil filtration systems and sealing technologies that make drive trains more reliable and bearings operate like new to compact blade pitch actuation systems that maximize rotor efficiency and minimize vibrations in the turbine. Parker has the solutions that make today's advanced and sophisticated wind power plants better and smarter. Case in point? Our high efficiency power conversion systems that deliver optimum power to the grid. While our scalable evaporative cooling system lowers overall system cost with up to 40% higher power throughput.