Updated: 5/16/2006; 10:31:46 AM.

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daily link  Thursday, November 21, 2002


An Unexpected Discovery Could Yield A Full Spectrum Solar Cell:  Article with much useful background about band gaps.  "Researchers in the Materials Sciences Division (MSD) of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, working with crystal-growing teams at Cornell University and Japan's Ritsumeikan University, have learned that the band gap of the semiconductor indium nitride is not 2 electron volts (2 eV) as previously thought, but instead is a much lower 0.7 eV. 

The serendipitous discovery means that a single system of alloys incorporating indium, gallium, and nitrogen can convert virtually the full spectrum of sunlight -- from the near infrared to the far ultraviolet -- to electrical current. ..

Indium gallium nitride's advantages are many. It has tremendous heat capacity and, like other group III nitrides, is extremely resist to radiation. These properties are ideal for the solar arrays that power communications satellites and other spacecraft. But what about cost?  "If it works, the cost should be on the same order of magnitude as traffic lights," Walukiewicz says. "Maybe less." "

UPI has further coverage.

  11:31:31 PM  permalink  

 

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Last update: 5/16/2006; 10:31:46 AM.