News Article

Quantum Physics Could Boost III-V Solar Cell Efficiency

InAs (indium arsenide), GaAs (gallium arsenide) and CdSe (cadmium selenide) will be some of the materials used to produce quantum dots in proposed solar cell research
The University of Salford is to conduct theoretical work on third generation solar cells.

Researchers aim to use semiconductor nanostructures in order to significantly increase the electricity produced by sunlight – from around 10 percent efficiency to 31 percent or more.

Solar Panels

Stanko Tomic, a professor from the University of Salford’s School of Computing, Science & Engineering and his team will be designing the semiconductor quantum dots. They aim to substantially reduce the energy losses present in conventional silicon solar cells.

The conversion of extra energy, which would otherwise be lost in the form of panel heat, into electricity is a major key in increasing solar cell efficiency and reducing cost.

Conventional silicon solar cells turn between 10 and 20 percent of light into electricity – the new cells will increase this to up to 31 percent or even higher.

Tomic and his team will use methods of computational physics, which combine the laws of quantum mechanics and advanced numerical algorithms, together with supercomputer power, to describe the structure of the materials, in order to design new solar cell devices.

Tomic will design the quantum dots that will be fabricated at the University of Manchester and the University of Tokyo, using, amongst other materials, CdSe, InAs and GaAs.

The impact of this research, which is funded, among others, by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK, and the Royal Society, London, is a significant development in the de-carbonising of energy supplies.

Currently, though prices are falling. Solar generation is more expensive than traditional fossil fuel generation.

Once this technology reaches efficiencies that can be mass-produced, the gap will diminish and possibly disappear, and more energy will be generated from fewer cells covering less space.

This, the researchers believe, makes them ideal for densely populated urban areas, which currently receive electricity through inefficient long distances power grids.

Tomic says, “Governments around the world are keen to pursue this technology, but in the UK we have one of the few teams able to create working cells. While the high efficiency solar cells possibly represent the energy source of the second half of the century, the work we’re doing now is of utmost importance as we seek to limit carbon emissions."


AngelTech Live III: Join us on 12 April 2021!

AngelTech Live III will be broadcast on 12 April 2021, 10am BST, rebroadcast on 14 April (10am CTT) and 16 April (10am PST) and will feature online versions of the market-leading physical events: CS International and PIC International PLUS a brand new Silicon Semiconductor International Track!

Thanks to the great diversity of the semiconductor industry, we are always chasing new markets and developing a range of exciting technologies.

2021 is no different. Over the last few months interest in deep-UV LEDs has rocketed, due to its capability to disinfect and sanitise areas and combat Covid-19. We shall consider a roadmap for this device, along with technologies for boosting its output.

We shall also look at microLEDs, a display with many wonderful attributes, identifying processes for handling the mass transfer of tiny emitters that hold the key to commercialisation of this technology.

We shall also discuss electrification of transportation, underpinned by wide bandgap power electronics and supported by blue lasers that are ideal for processing copper.

Additional areas we will cover include the development of GaN ICs, to improve the reach of power electronics; the great strides that have been made with gallium oxide; and a look at new materials, such as cubic GaN and AlScN.

Having attracted 1500 delegates over the last 2 online summits, the 3rd event promises to be even bigger and better – with 3 interactive sessions over 1 day and will once again prove to be a key event across the semiconductor and photonic integrated circuits calendar.

So make sure you sign up today and discover the latest cutting edge developments across the compound semiconductor and integrated photonics value chain.



Search the news archive

To close this popup you can press escape or click the close icon.
Register - Step 1

You may choose to subscribe to the Compound Semiconductor Magazine, the Compound Semiconductor Newsletter, or both. You may also request additional information if required, before submitting your application.

Please subscribe me to:


You chose the industry type of "Other"

Please enter the industry that you work in:
Please enter the industry that you work in:
Live Event