Aiming for 50% Solar Efficiency

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Atwater believes that a combination of light management at the nanoscale and clever device architecture can yield "a quantum leap" in cell efficiency. Today's "series" triple-junction cells stack three photovoltaic semiconductors on top of each other. Each semiconductor is optimized for a specific wavelength range. But the series nature of the device means that an enormous effort is spent in the growth of the layers, as well as separating or buffering the layers. The layer with the lowest current limits the current for the chip and minimizes the power generated.

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