All over the world, researchers are working and testing to make solar cells more efficient. Today, solar cells’ conversion rate is around 15 – 20%. On the most effective solar panel it can go up to 30%. MIT researchers are working in an other direction. They have been working on nanometer technology to create the thinnest solar cell in the world which only has a 1 – 2% conversion rate.
Working with half a nanometer thick grapheme layer and molybdenum disylphe, MIT researchers Jeffrey Grossman, Marco Bernardi and visiting researcher from the University of Roma Maurizia Palummo, make a breakthrough with this one nanometer thick solar cell. By themselves, those tiny solar cells only have 1-2% conversion rate. However, when put altogether, one on top of another, they can produce 1000 times more energy per pound than a regular solar cell.
Researcher still have to work on how to protect those small solar cells from the wind, rain or sand as they cannot support a protective glass.