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Volume 4 Issue 6, June 2019

Volume 4 Issue 6

The benefit of selenium

The addition of selenium to cadmium telluride solar cells has led to record energy conversion efficiencies. While it is generally assumed that the selenium improves the optoelectronic properties of the material, Fiducia et al. show that selenium (distributed across the device, as shown in blue) also deactivates detrimental defects allowing the cells to absorb more light.

See Fiducia et al.

Image: Thomas Fiducia, Loughborough University. Measurement performed by Dr Kexue Li, University of Oxford. Cover Design: Allen Beattie.


  • Editorial |

    Coal is increasingly falling out of favour in the face of cheaper alternatives and concerns about health.

Comment & Opinion

  • Comment |

    A wealth of candidates are being investigated to improve the catalysts found in acidic and alkaline electrolysers. However, attention should be focused on developing stable water oxidation catalysts with improved intrinsic activity — not only increased geometric activity — alongside best practice for data collection.

    • Jakob Kibsgaard
    • Ib Chorkendorff

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Stationary storage in buildings can help make better use of intermittent renewable power, but safer and cheaper alternatives to lithium-ion batteries are needed to accelerate deployment. Now, demonstration of an aqueous potassium-ion full cell offers a way forward.

    • Lauren E. Marbella
  • News & Views |

    A significant portion of the energy required to electrochemically reduce CO2 to fuels and chemicals is typically consumed by the accompanying oxygen evolution reaction. Now, researchers show that alternative oxidative reactions using biodiesel-waste could improve the economics and emission profiles of this process.

    • André Bardow
    • Matthias Wessling
  • News & Views |

    Selenium alloying has enabled record efficiency for CdTe solar cells by changing the optoelectronic properties of the CdTe absorber layer, though its role has not yet been fully understood. Now, non-radiative charge-carrier recombination in the bulk of the CdSeTe layer is revealed to be lower in grains with higher Se concentration.

    • Dmitry Krasikov
  • News & Views |

    Biomass cooking will continue for the foreseeable future in most developing countries. However, inefficient cookstoves have a negative impact on well-being. While controversy surrounds whether improved biomass cookstoves effectively address this, a new study shows that they may offer economic and health benefits.

    • Zenebe Gebreegziabher


  • Review Article |

    Public responses to new energy technologies can influence adoption and deployment. This Review brings together research on public perceptions of and responses to a wide range of energy technologies around the themes of technology, people, place and process.

    • Hilary S. Boudet


Amendments & Corrections


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