What do solar cells and eyeglasses have in common? Well, both of them are there to absorb light. Whereas in eyeglasses you need to see better by minimizing the reflection, in solar cells the sensitive solar layer needs to have as much light as possible transferred onto it.
Oregon State University engineers have innovated a new nanostructure film technology that they can deposit on any surface and reduce the reflectance of light. Their technology should perform better and have a lower price.
The key to the process is use of a chemical bath, controlled by a microreactor, to place thin-film deposits on various substrates such as glass, plastic, silicon or aluminum. In this case, the technology will create a type of nanostructure that resembles millions of tiny pyramids in a small space, which function to reduce the reflectance of any light that strikes the material.
The scientists say that the nano-coating will be available commercially within a year, if everything goes well. Current solar cells could be improved to have better efficiency by applying the coating. A patent is already pending for the new technology.