The University of Delaware has inched up the record for solar cell efficiency with a new device that can convert 42.8 percent of the light that strikes it into electricity.
That beats the old record of 40.7 percent hit in December. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has been funding research to get efficiency up to 50 percent.
The cell, created by Christina Honsberg and Allan Barnett of UD, splits incoming light into three buckets: high energy, low energy, and medium energy light. The light is then directed to different materials, which then extract electrons out of the photons that make up sunlight.
The device also has an optical concentrator, sort of like a lens that directs more sunlight to the solar cell than would occur naturally and thereby increasing efficiency.