Scientists at the University of Braunschweig in Germany have developed a new type of solar concentrator that concentrates light from any direction on a solar panel. Researchers say the funnel can be tuned to different wavelengths of light and stacked to convert the entire spectrum into electrical energy.
A solar concentrator is a type of lens that concentrates sunlight on a small area. Since most solar cells are only suitable for operation in direct sunlight, they have not been widely adopted in the solar field.
But this new concentrator consists of a randomly oriented pigment that absorbs light from almost any angle of incidence and maps it to components that face in a single direction. There is only a 10% loss in the concentrating process. Experiments show that this concentrator can absorb about 99% of the incident light, and the light-redirected quantum efficiency is greater than 80%.
Scientists predict that in the future it is possible to stack concentrators of different amplitudes on top of one another to form a concentrator that absorbs the entire spectrum. Since these concentrators are made of inexpensive, versatile materials, they can be developed into a low cost and efficient solar cell booster.