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Sharp creates solar cell with 44 per cent conversion efficiency

by Mark Tyson on 17 June 2013, 11:45

Tags: Sharp (TYO:6753), Nokia (NYSE:NOK)

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The record for the world's highest efficiency concentrating conversion solar cell has been broken by Sharp Corporation. The Japanese electronics company achieved a solar cell conversion efficiency of 44.4 per cent using a concentrator triple-junction compound solar cell.

Sharp’s compound solar cells utilise solar absorption layers made from compounds of multiple elements, to make the most of the available sunlight spectrum. Light is focussed upon these cells by a lens-based concentrator above them.

Sharp achieved its world record efficiency figure using proprietary technology in the shape of its three light absorption layers which includes indium gallium arsenide in the bottom layer. The measurement of the world record conversion efficiency was confirmed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Germany.

(Almost) transparent solar cells built into smartphone screens

In other solar power news a French startup has made prototypes of an almost transparent solar cell panel made to fit in front of a smartphone touchscreen. The firm, SunPartner, says that its screen overlays are 82 per cent transparent and it is aiming to achieve a 90 per cent figure.

SunPartner says that three manufacturers, including Nokia, are working with it in testing the technology. The solar panel and electronics would only cost “a couple of dollars” to incorporate into existing designs while adding about 20 per cent to battery life in day-to-day use. The solar cells in the prototype are said to provide enough power for the phone to idle indefinitely whilst in daylight.

HEXUS Forums :: 27 Comments

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Interesting - and crucially a different approach to Apples, which has been to use parabolic mirrors to redirect light to a PV panel under the screen, rather than placing it on top to let light shine through.

Either way I think this will be a really crucial technology in the next few years, and should fill the gap in smartphone battery life whilst we wait for better battery tech to become viable for consumer tech.
Hopefully this will bring in a range of phones you barely need to charge.

I want my nokia battery life back.
Most of the time my phone is in my pocket or on my desk. Neither of those places get much sunlight.

When I'm using it outside its usually pressed to my ear because I'm calling someone, or its exposed to the sun for about 30 seconds whilst I send a message.

I'm not knocking the technology, thats great. But I just don't see it actually being all that awesome from a practical standpoint.

Even when using my phone in the car for sat nav, the screen is facing me, not outside so again, not much light.
44% ? Never mind the phone, how much to roof my house ?
PV in phones is interesting and worth exploring but in reality I'd imagine most phones are only in sunlight a few minutes a day (and leaving your phone out in public for the sake of battery isn't wise). Nice in an emergency though.