Solar cells

Solar cells are devices for converting sunlight into electricity. Their primary element is often a semiconductor which absorbs light to produce carriers of electrical charge. An applied electric field can then sweep these carriers out of the semiconductor, thus producing an electrical current.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Dye-sensitized solar cells are promising as power-generating solar windows yet their fixed transparency prevents control of indoor lighting and temperature. Researchers now present a device that dynamically self-adjusts its optical transmittance with sunlight intensity, opening up a way to energy-efficient self-powered building façades.

    • Ana Flavia Nogueira
    Nature Energy 5, 428-429
  • News and Views |

    The power conversion efficiency of solar cells sensitized with colloidal quantum dots is believed to be limited by surface defects. Research now finds that photocarriers trapped at shallow defect states can actually be recovered and ultimately contribute to device efficiency.

    • Iván Mora-Seró
    Nature Energy 5, 363-364
  • News and Views |

    Hot carrier solar cells require mechanisms to dramatically reduce the rate at which carriers thermalize in semiconductors. Now, side-valley trapping of hot carriers with long decay lifetimes is shown to increase the chance of extraction of carriers while they are still hot.

    • Gavin Conibeer
    Nature Energy 5, 280-281