How GAas substrates can help make solar panels more effective and cheaper

Industry Insights

A group of researchers at NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) have come up with a method to make ultra-high material solar cells, with the help of semiconductor nanowires.

Anjan Mukherjee, a Phd candidate at the Electronic Systems department of the university and the main man behind this method, said that using gallium arsenide or GaAs was an efficient way to counter nanostructuring and can help make solar cells, more efficient, even when GaAs is used in small quantities.

Best suited

GaAs is the best-suited material to make these cells due to its incredible ability to absorb light and other features. But owing to the high cost of its solar components, it has caused a demand to develop other methods that help reduce the usage of these technologies. Once integrated on top of a Si cell, the efficiency could rise upto 40%, which is almost twice more than today’s commercial Si solar cells. GaAs solar cells are developed on GaAs substrate, which is thick and costly and does not help cut down costs.

Explaining the method behind the process, Helge Wemen, a professor at the same university in the Electronic Systems wing, said that a semiconductor nanowire, kept vertically, is made to stand on a Si platform that helps in growing the nanowires.

He further added that this method was cost effective and was the most suited way to grow a dual tandem cell.

The formation can be simple with not many complications with the help of required investments and R&D processes.

Mr Mukherjee added that researchers were contemplating growing nanowires on substrates like graphene, which could open newer opportunities for them in solar cell production, which would be useful in areas like drones, micro-satellites, among others.

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