The high efficiency of silicon solar cells makes them a superior photovoltaic technology. Silicon solar cells employ readily available raw ingredients and are therefore more cost-effective. Due to their inflexible, thick, heavy wafers, silicon solar cells can only be put in a restricted number of locations.
One solution to this problem is the use of thin membranes. More than 99 percent of the silicon will be removed from the cells, resulting in a remarkable reduction in weight and flexibility.
The cells may be easily integrated into buildings, urban architecture, and even small everyday gadgets because of this. Because silicon membranes are so thin, they cannot absorb light as well. Actually, it only absorbs about a quarter of the light that hits it, and it can look right through them.
To boost the efficiency of thin-film solar cells, researchers from Surrey University, AMOLF, and Imperial College used a new rationally designed nanostructure texture.
Tissue-thin membranes have been discovered to absorb 65 percent of sunlight in laboratory trials, which is very close to the theoretical absorption limit of approximately 70 percent. These silicon photovoltaic cells will likely be lightweight, flexible, and efficient due to the fact that this absorption capacity is the highest ever demonstrated in such a thin silicon membrane.
The patterned nanostructure works by deflecting direct sunlight in a variety of directions, allowing light to be trapped inside the silicon membrane.
When light is trapped, it has a better chance of being absorbed, and as a result, the membrane’s thickness grows.
When researchers learned about how photons are trapped in silicon, they could create a nanopattern based on the state of matter that occurs in nature.