Scientists at a Boeing subsidiary have developed a new type of photovoltaic cell that has surpassed an energy conversion efficiency of more than forty percent for the first time. Instead of the usual single-junction silicon cells, Spectrolab scientists have fabricated multi-junction cells. The advantage is that multi-junction cells can absorb many more of the frequencies that are available in sunlight.

This has allowed them to achieve a conversion efficiency of 40.7 percent. The theoretical limit of single junction cells is only 37 percent and actual measured values are much lower than that. The three junction cells that the team are building right now have a theoretical limit of 58 percent efficiency and they predict that 45-50 percent measured efficiency can be achieved.

[Source: PhysOrg, thanks to Ray and TX CHL Instructor for the tip]

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