Boost Solar Photovoltaic Cells by ~30%+ with Laser-Light (Infrared)

Today, we take a look at new technology in the Solar Photovoltaic Industry. Two Chemistry Professors (Bardeen & Tang) have used an innovative mixture of organic & inorganic materials to improve solar cells, equipping them with the ability to absorb infrared light.

*Comment #'s correspond with each paragraph. Click/Tap & Hover mouse to expand & see caption overlay.

1. Why not just "Stack" the solar panels? Instead of "coaxing" them. Or, in addition to using the hybrid panels, you could "stack/layer" them vertically to cut down on land-costs.

2. At least it's in Cali., where they have an abundance of sunny-days.

-Achieved by combining inorganic Nanocrystals with organic molecules (probably from plants) to increase & transform the wavelengths/type of light that is captured.

3. Normally, infrared isn't captured by PV Cells. This new mixed/hybrid solar cell captures 2 infrared photons, combines them, and then allows the PV cell to absorb the energy.

4. Using new infrared spectrum upconversion could yield 30% boost to current absorption of PV cells.

5. Inorganic materials:
Cadmium Selenide  ( A highly luminescent crystallized material.
Lead Selenide - ( - Infrared Detector  "one of the first materials sensitive to the infrared radiation used for military applications"

Organic Compounds:
Diphenylanthracene ( - Used to produce Blue light in glow-sticks
Rubrene ( - A Yellow light source in lightsticks. Also known as tetraphenyltetracene, making it another derivative of the Phenyl Group    (

6. 980-Nanometer Infrared upconverted to 550-Nanometer light (nearly 2x the infrared photon energy). Compared to the 0% that was originally being captured, even though it's not a 1:1 ratio, this is impressive.

7. Quotes about the technical details already covered above. 
TLDR= "The inorganics in the composite material take light in; the organics get light out." (Bardeen)

8. (Didn't highlight this paragraph) Potential applications & uses for the infrared-sensitive materials = Medical, Data Storage & LED's.

9. Converting/Transmuting of light to different wavelengths can have an impact on any technology that uses photons as inputs or outputs.

10. Research was partially funded (grant money) by US Army= Night-vision use cases? Or, it could be about using this technology in data storage/transmission/reconnaissance.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of California - Riverside.
Highlights & analysis written & produced by @bradleysci

Journal Reference:

Zhiyuan Huang, Xin Li, Melika Mahboub, Kerry M. Hanson, Valerie M. Nichols, Hoang Le, Ming L. Tang, Christopher J. Bardeen. Hybrid Molecule–Nanocrystal Photon Upconversion Across the Visible and Near-Infrared. Nano Letters, 2015; 150714103344001 DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b02130