EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M024873/1
Title: Singlet Fission Photon Multipliers - Adding Efficiency to Silicon Solar Cells
Principal Investigator: Greenham, Professor N
Other Investigators:
McCulloch, Professor I Rao, Dr A Friend, Professor Sir R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2015 Ends: 30 June 2018 Value (£): 809,851
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Solar Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Feb 2015 Supergen Solar Challenge Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Solar energy can make a major contribution to global energy supply, but for this renewable energy source to make a major impact it will need to compete on cost with conventional sources of energy. Silicon solar cells are the incumbent photovoltaic technology, and have benefited from huge reductions in manufacturing costs over the last 5-8 years. Now that the module cost is no longer the largest component of the installed system cost, further reductions in the cost per installed Watt require increases in the cell efficiency. However, single-junction cells such as silicon are fundamentally limited by the fact that the energy of the solar spectrum in excess of the semiconductor bandgap energy is lost as heat.

We aim to develop a simple active film that can be applied to the front surface of a silicon (or any other) solar cell that will increase the cell efficiency by up to 4% (e.g. from 20% to 24%). We will do this by capturing the high-energy photons from the solar spectrum and converting them to two lower-energy photons that can be absorbed in the solar cell without energy losses to heat. This will be achieved using the process of singlet exciton fission which occurs in certain organic materials, converting the spin-0 singlet state produced by photon absorption into two spin-1 triplet states. We have very recently demonstrated that it is possible to transfer these non-emissive triplet states onto inorganic semiconductor nanoparticles, which can then efficiently emit photons that could be absorbed by an underlying solar cell.

In this project, we will optimise, engineer and demonstrate photon multiplier films based on the approach described above, providing a low-cost efficiency enhancement for silicon solar cells that can be implemented without re-engineering of the electrical structure of the cell.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Impacts
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Summary
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk