Nanostructures Optimize Light Absorption in Black Butterflies – Principle Can Be Transferred to Photovoltaics for Improving Light Harvesting in Thin-Film Solar Cells – Cell Efficiency Increase
Sunlight reflected by solar cells is lost as unused energy. The wings of the butterfly Pachliopta aristolochiae are drilled by nanostructures (nanoholes) that help absorbing light over a wide spectrum far better than smooth surfaces. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now succeeded in transferring these nanostructures to solar cells and, thus, enhancing their light absorption rate by up to 200 percent. The scientists report their results in the journal Science Advances. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700232.
“The butterfly studied by us is very dark black. This signifies that it perfectly absorbs sunlight for optimum heat management. Even more fascinating than its appearance are the mechanisms that help reaching the high absorption. The optimization potential when transferring these structures to photovoltaics (PV) systems was found to be much higher than expected,” says Dr. Hendrik Hölscher of KIT’s Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT).
[Textfeld: Cross-connections between the ridges on the butterfly wing of Pachliopta aristolochiae form disordered “nanoholes” that enhance light absorption. (Photo: Radwanul H. Siddique, KIT/Caltech) Bio-inspired nanoholes etched into an amorphous silicon based photovoltaic absorber have a mean diameter of 238 nm. (Photo: Guillaume Gomard, KIT)] The scientists of the team of Hendrik Hölscher and Radwanul H. Siddique (formerly KIT, now Caltech) reproduced the butterfly’s nanostructures in the silicon absorbing layer of a thin-film solar cell. Subsequent analysis of light absorption yielded promising results: Compared to a smooth surface, the absorption rate of perpendicular incident light increases by 97% and rises continuously until it reaches 207% at an angle of incidence of 50 degrees. “This is particularly interesting under European conditions. Frequently, we have diffuse light that hardly falls on solar cells at a vertical angle,” Hendrik Hölscher says.
However, this does not automatically imply that efficiency of the complete PV system is enhanced by the same factor, says Guillaume Gomard of IMT. “Also other components play a role. Hence, the 200 percent are to be considered a theoretical limit for efficiency enhancement.”
Prior to transferring the nanostructures to solar cells, the researchers determined the diameter and arrangement of the nanoholes on the wing of the butterfly by means of scanning electron microscopy. Then, they analyzed the rates of light absorption for various hole patterns in a computer simulation. They found that disordered holes of varying diameters, such as those found in the black butterfly, produced most stable absorption rates over the complete spectrum at variable angles of incidence, with respect to periodically arranged monosized nanoholes. Hence, the researchers introduced disorderly positioned holes in a thin-film PV absorber, with diameters varying from 133 to 343 nanometers.
The scientists demonstrated that light yield can be enhanced considerably by removing material. In the project, they worked with hydrogenated amorphous silicon. According to the researchers, however, any type of thin-film PV technology can be improved with such nanostructures, also on the industrial scale.
The Latest on: Thin-Film Solar Cells
- Solar Panel Market Analysis With Impact of COVID-19, Top Companies, Trends, Demand, Future Opportunity Outlook 2023on May 11, 2020 at 5:16 pm
A comprehensive research report created through extensive primary research (inputs from industry experts, companies, stakeholders) and secondary research, the report aims to present the analysis of ...
- What Michael Moore’s new film gets wrong about renewable energyon May 11, 2020 at 3:04 am
Michael Moore’s Planet of the Humans challenges renewable energy’s ability to fight climate change, but it’s riddled with errors and old information.
- Thin Film Photovoltaic Cells Market Analysis, Size, Growth, and Outlook 2020-2026on May 10, 2020 at 2:51 am
The report provides a detailed assessment of the Thin Film Photovoltaic Cells Market This includes enabling technologies key trends market drivers challenges standardization regulatory landscape ...
- Are Perovskites the Future of Solar?on May 8, 2020 at 11:38 am
Other thin film technologies containing CZTS (copper tin zinc sulphide), nanocrystals, polymers, and perovskites are the third generation of solar devices. Today, the mainstream silicon-based solar ...
- Thin Film Solar Cells Market - Recent developments in the competitive landscape forecast 2018 - 2026on May 7, 2020 at 6:36 am
Is there a problem with this press release? Contact the source provider Comtex ...
- Xinhua Silk Road: Seraphim releases new 158 high efficiency moduleon May 6, 2020 at 12:53 pm
PRNewswire/ -- Jiangsu Seraphim Solar System Co., Ltd. (Seraphim), a world-class solar products manufacturer, rolled out its latest product, the 158 ...
- Seraphim Unveils New High-Efficiency Moduleon May 6, 2020 at 11:41 am
Jiangsu Seraphim Solar System Co. Ltd., a solar manufacturer, has released its latest product – the 158 high-efficiency shingled module. The new 158 shingled module can generate more power with higher ...
- Solar Glass Market Worth Observing Growth: FLAT, Xinyi Solar, CSG, Almadenon May 6, 2020 at 1:27 am
A latest survey on Global Solar Glass Market is conducted to provide hidden gems performance analysis The study is a perfect mix of qualitative and quantitative information covering market size ...
- Could First Solar Be a Millionaire-Maker Stock?on May 2, 2020 at 6:01 am
I'm a big fan of solar, and in particular, solar-panel manufacturing giant First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR). A leader in building solar panels for the utility-scale segment, First Solar also has by far the ...
- Stabilised halide perovskites promise better solar panelson May 1, 2020 at 3:55 am
Researchers have inhibited the ion movement in halide perovskites, an advance that could unlock their use for more efficient solar panels.
via Google News and Bing News