Australian team uses Sir Isaac Newton's parlor trick to suck more photons from sunlight

UNSW's Mark Keevers with the cell.

Image: Rob Largent/UNSW

University of New South Wales boffins have laid hands on another record, with a solar cell demonstrating 34.5 per cent conversion efficiency.

A simple prism - the device that led Isaac Newton to theorise about the nature of light based on the colours he found in sunlight - is the basis of the demo.

The Keevers/Green work used a four-junction module 28 cm2 in area, embedded in a prism.

A silicon cell is installed on another face of the prism, to capture energy from the infrared portion of sunlight.

In the short term, manufacturing costs mean the beam-splitting approach is more likely to turn up in commercial-scale kit such as the heliostat technology being developed by RayGen and others.

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