Scientists at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, have developed a thin film solar cell that breaks the record for converting sunlight directly into electricity at an efficiency of 20.4%.

Scientists at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, have developed a thin film solar cell that breaks the record for converting sunlight directly into electricity at an efficiency of 20.4%.

The thin film solar cells are based on the semiconducting material CIGS (copper indium gallium (di)selenide), which has the potential to provide lower cost solar power as compared to the traditional silicon wafer cells that are commonly used today. This is a large step toward making solar energy cost effective on a large scale.

The team credited for the breakthrough by Empa’s Laboratory for Thin Film and Photovoltaics is led by Ayodhya N. Tiwari, with the latest innovations coming from ideas by PhD students Adrian Chirila and Fabian Pianezzi.

The record 20.4% energy conversion efficiency is a great improvement from their previous record of 18.7%, which was achieved by the same team in May 2011.

Reference
Empa takes thin film solar cells to a new level