# 3D Solar Cell invented by 12 year old boy.

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http://www.katu.com/news/28432984.html

Have a look - they reckon it's 500 times more efficient than normal ones. Makes sense.

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Wait, what? So normal solar cells are less than 0.2% efficient?

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The article doesn't say they are 500 times more efficient; it says that they absorb 500 times more light than commercially-available cells. That is not the same thing.

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sorry - still pretty good though. Especially as he's just a kid.

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Still, though, really? So normal solar cells absorb less than 0.2% of incoming light?

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Still, though, really? So normal solar cells absorb less than 0.2% of incoming light?

They are VERY wavelength dependent and even on the wavelengths they work for they suck...

Water heating solar panels are much better though

It all started with Legos - after he learned nanotechnology to make robots take off. The seventh grader then got an idea inspired by the sun.

This doesn't fill me with confidence for the whole article.

There was an article in newscientist about a year ago about having multiple absorption layers and things.... seemed to be quite an active area of research...

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Well this seems to suggest 40.8% as a record for the transference of light energy to electrical. - http://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2008/625.html

We/They seem to be getting there slowly anyway.

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Average efficiency is ~20% at present.

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Average efficiency is ~20% at present.

Indeed, and that is based on the electricity output, and the maximum solar insolation available. I'm pretty sure that we can assume that this means that 20% is absorbed. (Or more, if we include that some heat is also produced from additionally absorbed radiation, but that also means that some radiation emanates from the cell in the form of IR).

Which means that the whole world is totally puzzled over what the kid means by "If he is right, solar panels with his 3D cells would provide 500 times more light absorption than commercially-available solar cells and nine times more than cutting-edge 3D solar cells."

Simply put: I don't believe that the kid really knows what he's talking about. News agencies sent some random journalist, who doesn't know anything about Photovoltaics, and after that the entire world just copied the article. Sure, its a smart kid...

graph of solar radiation spectrum: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Solar_Spectrum.png

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Iv often considered different ways of how the PV cell could be improved also, and the 2 methods close to 3D that I have include making the cell construction similar to that of a color photographic negative film which has up to 10 layers, the idea being that the 1st layer (blue) captures the high frequency less penetrating rays allowing the green to pass to the next layer and the red (the most penetrating) to reach the final layer.

obviously you can dispense with the silver halide, dye and anti-halation layers etc...

the other was along the lines of a laser, where solar energy (light) is focused on a gain medium with a low lasing threshold creating the population inversion and making it lase onto a frequency tuned PV cell, Im sure theres a dye that could be engineered as the gain medium that would trigger at a low enough level.

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visible UV... what an interesting concept

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Which means that the whole world is totally puzzled over what the kid means by "If he is right, solar panels with his 3D cells would provide 500 times more light absorption than commercially-available solar cells and nine times more than cutting-edge 3D solar cells."

I would assume he is talking about the light energy absorbed per unit mass, volume, or coverage area. It would be nice to have some more specific technical details though, wouldn't it?

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There's a wiki page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Yuan

Currently, it has a pageful of warnings on that page

His project is called "A Highly-Efficient 3-Dimensional Nanotube Solar Cell for Visible and UV Light"

Give it a while, lets come back in a few days and see what the real substance is. Everything out there now seems like crap.

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Are there any papers?

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or any technical detail at all.

the article just seems like another case of bad science journalism where they've tried to make it sound more spectacular to the general public.

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Nothing new so far. I found that the Davidson Institute actually thinks that his idea is 500 times better than real solar panels.

http://presskit.ditd.org/2008_Davidson_Fellows_Press_Kit/2008_DF_William_Yuan.pdf

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