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Selective Reflector for Enhanced Solar Cell Efficiency

United States Patent Application

View the Complete Application at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Management Department Website
This invention improves the efficiency of non-optimal solar cell materials, enabling them to achieve the same efficiency as optimal materials. The invention describes a method of improving the emission and absorption properties of a generic photovoltaic cell using feedback reflectors and/or filters, increasing the open circuit voltage of the cell, and thus the overall efficiency. Specific examples of single junction photovoltaics are detailed, but not limited to. Particularly, semiconducting solar cells in either single- or multi-junction formats are described. The invention can be applied to any functioning solar cell to increase the efficiency, while describing the maximal efficiency available using thermodynamic identities. Other examples are included, such as organic photovoltaic, nanostractured photovoltaic devices, and non-planar geometries. The invention thus enables using non-optimal photovoltaic materials to achieve similar efficiency results as optimal ones, regardless of the designed structure or material used.
Abrams, Ze'ev R. (Alameda, CA), Niv, Avi (Kfar-Blum, IL), Gharghi, Majid (Berkeley, CA), Zhang, Xiang (Alamo, CA)
The Regents of the University of California (Oakland CA)
13/ 665,380
October 31, 2012
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT [0002] The invention described and claimed herein was made in part utilizing funds supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Regents of the University of California for the management and operation of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The government has certain rights in this invention.