Researchers at the University of Connecticut and Penn State Altoona have developed nanoscale antennas that convert sunlight to electricity with much higher efficiency than solar cells — up to 70%. See articles here and here.

The idea of using nanoantennas to collect solar energy has been around for a while, but fabricating the antennas has been a problem up to now. Brian Willis, associate professor of chemical, materials, and biomolecular engineering at the University of Connecticut, believes he has solved that problem, using the atomic layer deposition (ALD) fabrication process, which he developed in 2011 at the University of Delaware.

If perfected, this technology could be a boon for spacecraft and satellite design.

Written by Astro1 on April 28th, 2013 , Innovation

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    Ed Wilson commented

    Both of these articles refer to “Rectifying” light. I am not an electrical, but I recall that conventional, and likely this type of solar panels generate DC, and there is an inverter between them and grid power.

    Is this correct – in this case, or is the removal of the usually 90%+ inverter part of the improvement?

    The use of DC power in limited applications can be very, ‘liberating’.

    Reply
    April 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm