Sun and Solar Panel

LSU researchers are building a one-of-a-kind quantum device to increase solar cell efficiency

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+  LSU Physics professor Omar Magana-Loaiza and postdoctoral researcher Chenglong You received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a one-of-a-kind quantum device. Their research could help scientists find better materials to build solar cells and make them more efficient.

“Photons can get stuck somewhere in the material,” Magana-Loaiza said. “Some photons can travel here and get stuck here and then they don’t achieve the other end. People have been trying to redesign the materials such that we can collect as much of the light as possible.”


+  Photons are subject to quantum effects, which means predicting where a photon will end up is a matter of probability.

+  “If you think quantumly, there are all sorts of events we’re not considering,” You said.

+  “This is a complicated problem that not even a supercomputer can do,” Magana-Loaiza said. “There are multiple combinations and multiple possibilities that can happen and at some point when you start considering all these possibilities, your computer will be frozen.”

+  The quantum device they’re building will be used to find the optimal conditions for the most light to turn into electrical energy. From there, scientists will have a blueprint of the kind of material that would make the most efficient solar cells.

+  Directly testing different materials in a lab is another option, but Magana-Loaiza said this process could take decades.

+  “The material science is so complicated,” he said. “We cannot write an equation to model it. The proposal is if we can build this powerful quantum device and then understand how light is collected and transported, then we will know some possible paths to improve.”

Source:  LSU REVEILLE.  Josh Archote,  LSU researchers are building a one-of-a-kind quantum device to increase solar cell efficiency…

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