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Stanford researchers ‘cool’ sunlight to improve solar cell efficiency

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A team of researchers from Stanford University have devised an ingenious means of boosting the efficiency of solar panels by exploiting a fundamental physics phenomenon. Solar panels lose efficiency as they heat up. Just as the top of your head radiates excess body heat as infrared light, the researchers have developed a translucent overlay comprised of patterned silica that does the same for solar panels. The overlay separates the visible spectrum of light (which generates electricity) from its thermal radiation (aka heat), effectively “cooling” the incoming light, radiating the heat away from the panel while allowing more photons to be converted into electricity. The team, led by Stanford professor Shanhui Fan, recently published their findings in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
via Engadget

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