Ultrathin solar cells promise improved satellite performance

As low Earth orbit becomes more cluttered, it becomes increasingly necessary to use middle Earth orbits, and radiation-tolerant cell designs will be needed. Making photovoltaics thinner should increase their longevity because the charge carriers have less far to go during their shortened lifetimes. Scientists propose a radiation-tolerant photovoltaic cell design that features an ultrathin layer of light-absorbing material. Compared to thicker cells, nearly 3.5 times less cover glass is needed for the ultra-thin cells to deliver the same amount of power after 20 years of operation.As low Earth orbit becomes more cluttered, it becomes increasingly necessary to use middle Earth orbits, and radiation-tolerant cell designs will be needed. Making photovoltaics thinner should increase their longevity because the charge carriers have less far to go during their shortened lifetimes. Scientists propose a radiation-tolerant photovoltaic cell design that features an ultrathin layer of light-absorbing material. Compared to thicker cells, nearly 3.5 times less cover glass is needed for the ultra-thin cells to deliver the same amount of power after 20 years of operation.

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