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Cambridge scientists develop solar cell with 25% more efficiency

Hybrid cell absorbs red light to boost electrical current

The new solar cell increases efficiency to 44%

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have developed a new solar cell which could increase the maximum efficiency of solar panels by over 25 per cent. Researchers working at the university’s Cavendish Laboratory have developed a “hybrid cell” which absorbs red light and extra blue photons to boost the electrical current.

Traditional solar cells currently on the market are only capable of capturing around 34 per cent of the light from the sun, as much of the energy of the absorbed light, particularly of the blue photons, is lost as heat.

The researchers found that with the addition of pentacene, an organic semiconductor, the solar cells can generate two electrons instead of one for every photon from the blue light spectrum, enabling the cells to capture 44 per cent of the incoming solar energy.

However, the Cambridge team said it will take another three years to assess whether the technology is commercially viable.