Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Apr 26

PV Cell Prototype Generates Electricity from IR and UV Light

Posted in Energy Inventions | Photovoltaic Cells | Solar Power

PV Cell Prototype Solar energy is present in abundance around us. The problem is how to harness a substantial portion of it for human use. How to raise the efficiency bar of solar conversion into electricity? Scientists are continuously engaged in finding a way out for this problem. Recently scientists at the Kyoto Institute of Technology have deviated from the normal path and tried to trap the visible as well as invisible rays of sun for electricity. They tried to create a new photovoltaic cell that can capture visible, infrared and ultraviolet light of the sun. The team now thinks that this photovoltaic will be highly efficient for solar power conversion.

In March, 2010 a meeting was held by the Japan Society of Applied Physics. In this meeting a research group from the Kyoto Institute of Technology talked about their new photovoltaic cell that is capable of generating electricity not only from visible light, but from ultraviolet and infrared light as well. The research group is headed by the associate professor Saki Sonoda. The research group delivered a 90-minute lecture on the cell under the title “Nitride Semiconductor Added With Transition Metals as a Photoelectric Conversion Material for Ultraviolet, Visible and Infrared Lights ~ In the Aim of Realizing the Next-generation Super-efficient PV Cell With a Simple Element Structure.”

Saki Sonoda is quite optimistic that his team’s work would lead towards a more efficient PV cell that can be single-junction rather than the more conventional multi-junction. A multi-junction PV cell has multiple thin films of varying absorption capabilities. This will help in capturing the entire spectrum of light. But with a single-junction cell all that light can be absorbed using a single junction cell.

These new PV cells were made up of gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor. This new photovoltaic cell is created by ‘doping’ a wide bandgap transparent composite semiconductor i.e. gallium nitride (GaN) with a 3d transition metal such as manganese. Gallium belongs to the family of scandium, titanium, vanadium, chrome, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, and zinc. Sonoda explained that his team has gone for those additive elements. He said that even aluminum nitride (AlN), which has a very large bandgap, can possibly have an absorbing region in the visible light range,

If we look at the stats we can see that the short-circuit current density of the PV cell is about 10?A/cm2, which is about 1/1,000 that of a normal crystalline silicon PV cell. Sonoda explained that normally the cell and electrodes are separated, therefore the electric resistance of the p-type GaN connecting them is very large. Now we can hope that the findings of the research group are expected to pave the way to a GaN-based PV cell with a totally different mechanism.

  • Dan Chance

    This may be a more important discovery than I can detect with my limited scientific foundation but I am pleased with any advance and just hope that they can increase the efficiency of these cells.

  • colourz_ab

    Most PV cells are multi-junction devices, with single junction cells stacked in descending order of band gap. The cell at the top captures high-energy photons, while those at the bottom with lower band gaps capture the lower energy photons. The new cell is able to capture photons with a wide range of energies in a single junction cell.

  • Geofrey Damner

    24/7 photovoltaic would be twice as productive as photosynthesis.

  • Jimmie

    Harnessing more energy using different spectrum’s of sunlight is fantastic. It looks like a solar panel could then be built much smaller allowing more energy production in a smaller scale. Awesome!

  • ant

    Looks like we might be catching up with the leafs.

  • Bob Reeve

    I recall that, approximately two years ago, a high school student from Washington State has already developed a working model of a solar cell capable of capturing infrared and ultraviolet rays–no more how cloudy the sky might be. I would like to see an update on what this young man is doing with this unique solar cell today.

  • Frederik

    It’s Great, Now who is Manufacturing or selling these so called UV Solar Cells, and why is these people that developed the UV solar cells taking so long to Develop/sell/manufacture these cells, is there no one that has Venture or Experimental money, that can push this project, or is there someone that is undermining this again…


  • knuedge

    If you can harness the energy in ultraviolet light, your PV cell should be able to produce 40 times the energy as in standard silicon chips. Good luck in your experiment.

Family-sized Solar Car to Race in World Solar Challenge


Solar Team Great Britain has started a kickstarter page to help fund their design for entry in the 2017 World Solar Challenge. Founder Steven Heape leads a team of volunteers

Floating Solar Panels: A Viable Solution?


Since 2011, French Company Ciel & Terre has been developing large-scale floating solar solutions. Their innovative Hydrelio Floating PV system allows standard PV panels to be installed on large bodies

Tulip Shaped Solar Plants to be Installed in Ethiopia


AORA Solar has announced that it will begin construction of its solar-biogas power plants in Ethiopia. Construction of the first pilot plant will start by mid-2015. Ethiopia’s Minister of Water,

3D Printed Solar Energy Trees


How would nature do it? Researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland may be discovering the answer, thanks to advancing solar and 3D printing technologies. They have developed

The Benefits of Solar Power (Infographic)

Solar Power World Map

Home Inspector Bill Barber recently created an excellent infographic that details how solar panels can power homes and help the environment at the same time. According to the infographic,

Oriental Hornet: Expert Solar Power Harvester

Oriental Hornet: Expert Solar Power Harvester

Do you know who is the most competent solar power expert, according to a research team from Tel Aviv University? It is the humble common Oriental hornet found

Brooklyn Bridge Park: Greenest Destination in New York City

Brooklyn Bridge Park: Greenest Destination in New York City

New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge Park is getting even greener with the addition of a solar powered electric vehicle (EV) charging station – the first of its kind in

Artificial Electronic Super Skin – Powered By Stretchable Solar Cells

Artificial Electronic Super Skin – Powered By Stretchable Solar Cells

Zhenan Bao, Stanford researcher, is keen to create “Super skin.” Taking her previously created super-sensitive sensor a step ahead, she is now creating a super skin that will be