Most solar cells today are made out of N-type and P-type semiconductor material that use the visual light spectrum to generate electricity. Solar radiation with wavelengths of 380 nm to 750 nm (violet to red) strike the material with enough energy to knock electrons from their weak bonds and create an electric current. The unused wavelengths (ultraviolet & infrared) do not have enough energy to dislodge the electrons and are absorbed as heat.
The sun emits many forms of electromagnetic radiation in varying quantities. As shown in the diagram, about 43 percent of the total radiant energy emitted from the sun is in the visible parts of the spectrum. The bulk of the remainder lies in the near-infrared (49 percent) and ultraviolet section (7 percent). Less than 1 percent of solar radiation is emitted as x-rays, gamma waves, and radio waves.
Since solar panel manufacturers want to maximize the energy capturing ability of their panels, they mostly use materials that can capture energy from the visible part of the spectrum, since that is the part that the Sun puts out the most energy in. Panels do exist that “split up” the incident light by wavelength and have different layers absorb different parts of the spectrum, thereby increasing efficiency, but these are also far more expensive and are therefore only used in very expensive applications.
Immunolight Solar Technology
Immunolight’s energy conversion technology enables virtually any wavelength of light to be created from another penetrating energy wavelength. As noted, current solar cells only convert a fraction of the energy spectrum that reaches the earth. Therefore, the conversion of solar energy into electrical energy can be boosted by employing our technology to convert wavelengths of incident sunlight that can’t be trapped by solar cells (e.g.; UV and IR) into wavelengths possessing energies that can be converted by the solar cell. Efficiency gains realized here will likely be far more cost effective than alternative semiconductor designs.
Our technology can enable the production of solar panels at a consumer-friendly price that capture the sun’s full spectrum range, from low-energy infrared through visible light to high-energy ultraviolet. Despite the “band gap” limitations of existing solar cells, solar energy remains the largest area of growth in the clean energy field today. Our ability to convert unused ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths into electricity represents a major advancement in solar cell capacity and an opportunity to further elevate the solar industry’s growth potential.