Standford engineers have invented a transparent coating that cools solar cells to boost efficiency.
Here's an excerpt:
Every time you stroll outside you emit energy into the universe: Heat from the top of your head radiates into space as infrared light.
Now three Stanford engineers have developed a technology that improves on solar panel performance by exploiting this basic phenomenon. Their invention shunts away the heat generated by a solar cell under sunlight and cools it in a way that allows it to convert more photons into electricity.
The work by Shanhui Fan, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, research associate Aaswath P. Raman and doctoral candidate Linxiao Zhu is described in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The group’s discovery, tested on a Stanford rooftop, addresses a problem that has long bedeviled the solar industry: The hotter solar cells get, the less efficient they become at converting the photons in light into useful electricity.