Harvesting Light is a new approach to capturing more of the sunlight that strikes the earth every single day. Solar cells absorb certain colours of light to generate electricity, but light not absorbed, i.e. that is the wrong colour, is effectively lost as heat. Using quantum mechanics, and how light interacts with a nanoparticle, it is possible to split a photon of light, say one blue photon, into two red photons, which are then the correct colour to be efficiently absorbed by a solar cell.
Added as a light-converting coating, this pushes up the maximum efficiency of a solar cell up by changing the colour of the light striking it. It should be possible to coat this new light-shifting layer onto most existing solar cells, thereby increasing the amount of clean energy generated from the same amount of sunlight.
The research presented in this new project will give a visual journey of light from it being generated in the Sun, to its conversion into electricity in a ‘Harvesting Light’ solar cell.