The technology mainly comprises a class of absorber materials made of earth-abundant elements. The band gap is tunable, allowing for multi-junction architectures that can stand alone or readily complement existing photovoltaic technologies. By incorporating highly absorbing semiconductors into tandem thin film photovoltaic cells, dramatic efficiency gains can be realized by utilizing a broader portion of the incoming solar spectrum with minimal increase in production costs. This technology describes the composition of this class of absorber materials, methods for making these materials, and devices.
Features & Benefits
Background of Invention
The efficiency of commercial photovoltaic cells using single junction architecture and conventional materials has reached a plateau. The cost of the most commonly used material, crystalline silicon (c-Si) has declined in recent years, but it remains cost-prohibitive for multi-junction applications needed for non-incremental improvements in efficiency. Therefore, there is a need for a more economical material that can be used for photovoltaic cells without sacrificing efficiency. Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a number of low-cost alternative materials that can be used in photovoltaic cells, particularly tandem solar cells. This technology has the potential to dramatically improve the efficiency of solar cells using abundant, benign, and inexpensive materials.
Patent Cooperation Treaty Application No. PCT/US2014/033363