The use of arsenide solar cells is not new. The Solar Energy Institute of the Polytechnic University of Madrid is used for years in multijunction cells developed by Antonio Luque. Now a group of researchers from the University of Illinois proposed a new technique for manufacturing semiconductor solar cells by replacing the silicon with gallium arsenide.
The advantage of gallium arsenide on solar grade silicon is that it offers almost twice the efficiency. The big disadvantage, which explains the low utilization is the price. To resolve this dilemma, engineers and researchers from the University of Illinois say they have won new methods of producing thin films of gallium arsenide low cost, which would create devices that replace silicon by increasing the efficiency of photovoltaic cells.
Another achievement announced refers to efficiency gains. Usually gallium arsenide is deposited in a single thin layer on a small plate, at the University of Illinois have multiple layers of material deposited on the wafer, obtaining a higher yield. Multiple layers removed limitations on the work area, something very important in the case of solar cells, which require a large coverage area to capture as much light as possible. So, say its creators, you get a larger coverage area, generate more power with lower cost.
The main responsibility of this work are Professor John Rogers and Li Xiuling that have received funding from the Department of Energy of the United States and the National Science Foundation.