solar panels
Solar panels could get a major efficiency boost from a thin-film antenna made of proteins, lipids and organic dyes.
Credit: TodorovNikifor/iStock/Thinkstock

The Kumar Group and He Group have reportedly developed a unique “green” antenna that could potentially double the efficiencies of certain kinds of solar cells.

Efficient solar cells maximize the absorption of the sun’s wavelengths. However, current silicon solar cells are not efficient in the blue part of the light spectrum. In response, Kumar’s team built an antenna that collects unused blue photons and then convents them to lower energy photons that the silicon can then turn into current. The product is both more compostable and affordable than silicon solar cells. This antenna is the first of its kind in the world.

Dr. Kumar presented his team’s results at ACS Boston (video). Their work was featured in ECN Magazine, CleanTechnology News, and Energy Business Review, amongst others.