Research Frontiers: solid state
This event is now over.
Talk title: Electronic Engines - The Principles and Practice of Solar Power Conversion
This week it's from Ned Ekins-Daukes. It's enough to brighten your day! Snacks & drinks as usual.
Description: Civilisations throughout history have sought to harness the power of the sun, a process that nature established ~3400 million years ago trough the evolution of photosynthesis. A consequence of the semiconductor technology revolution has been our ability to manufacture affordable solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity at an efficiency of up to 20%. However, the thermodynamic limit for solar power conversion sits at 87%, suggesting there is considerable scope for improvement. Research in the Blackett Laboratory is tackling the ongoing cost reduction for solar power conversion, by exploiting the properties of plastic and printable semiconductors, and also exploring conceptually different approaches to the problem. Efficiencies in excess of 40% have been demonstrated and it looks likely that a 50% efficient solar cell will be achieved within the next decade.