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NUS Researchers Set New Efficiency Record for Solar Cell Technology

Image source: news.nus.edu.sg

A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has set a new record in the power conversion efficiency of solar cells made using perovskite and organic materials. This technological breakthrough paves the way for flexible, light-weight, low cost and ultra-thin photovoltaic cells which are ideal for powering vehicles, boats, blinds and other applications.

Technologies for clean and renewable energy are extremely important for carbon reduction. Solar cells that directly convert solar energy into electricity are among the most promising clean energy technologies. The high power conversion efficiency of solar cells is critical for generating more electrical power using a limited area and this, in turn, reduces the total cost of generating solar energy.

– Professor Hou Yi, Lead Researcher, NUS Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

The researchers have demonstrated a power conversion efficiency of 23.6%. This is the best performance for this type of solar cell to date. The latest result is approaching the power conversion rate of 26.7% of conventional silicon solar cells, which is the dominating technology in the current solar PV market.

Solar cell technology has achieved tremendous growth in recent years as a sustainable energy source. The reliability, efficiency, durability, and price of solar cells have a crucial impact on the commercial potential and large-scale implementation of solar energy projects around the world.

The conventional solar cells being used in solar power plants are based on a single-junction architecture. The practical power conversion efficiency of single-junction solar cells is limited to about 27% in industrial production. To push the frontiers of solar energy production will require novel solutions for solar cells to perform better in power conversion.

To raise the power conversion efficiency of solar cells to go beyond 30%, stacks of two or more absorber layers (multi-junction cells) are required. Tandem solar cells, which are made using two different types of photovoltaic materials, is a hot area of research.

A tandem solar cell comprises two or more subcells electrically connected using interconnecting layers (ICLs). The ICL plays a critical role in determining the performance and reproducibility of a device. An effective ICL should be chemically inert, electrically conductive and optically transparent.

The study shows the great potential of perovskite-based tandem solar cells for future commercial applications of photovoltaic technology. Building on the new discovery, we hope to further improve the performance of our tandem solar cells and scale up this technology.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, medical and nursing students at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine will be using three-dimensional holographic technology from a tech company to help them learn certain medical procedures and study anatomical structures. The collaboration, which spans NUS Medicine, the National University Health System and a tech company add mixed reality to the learning experience.

Through holographic technology, medical and nursing undergraduates can expect to better hone their skills through training. This progressive use of mixed reality in healthcare education stems from the tech company’s work with the National University Health System, which is embarking on Holomedicine research in Singapore to enhance patient care.

From delivering better healthcare experiences at the frontlines to helping neurosurgeons keep patients better informed of what could happen during their surgeries, technology has been an empowering tool for healthcare workers as they protect and save the lives of patients. As one of the few hospitals in Southeast Asia that has a tertiary education arm that collaborates with a training hospital, NUS Medicine is in a unique position to use mixed reality solutions.

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