Solar cell efficiency improved with Blu-ray disc

Researchers from the Northwestern University have discovered that the pattern of information written on a Blu-ray disc  works very well for improving light absorption across the solar spectrum. Blu-ray discs contain a higher density of data than DVDs or CDs due to smaller pits and lands (0s and 1s). The quasi-random pattern of pits and lands, provides the right texture to improve the cells’ light absorption and performance when transferred to the surface of solar cells.

myce-blu-ray-disc

For solar cells to become more efficient the light has to be scattered more effectively which is achieved by placing a texture on them. Scientists have long been searching for the most effective texture with a reasonable manufacturing cost.

The researchers from McCormick have demonstrated that the texture of a Blu-ray disc gives solar cells the near-optimal surface texture to improve their absorption over the broad spectrum of sunlight. The pattern of the Blu-ray texture was more efficient than a random pattern texture. A random pattern in it’s place worked better than no pattern, but the pattern on Blu-ray discs was proven to be best.

It didn’t matter what kind of Blu-ray disc used, all kinds of discs were tested including action movies, dramas, documentaries, cartoons and black-and-white content. The tests concluded that the video content did not matter.

The researchers wondered why the Blu-ray pattern works so well and conclude that the quasi-random array of  pits and lands with feature sizes between 150 and 525 nanometers  works quite well for light-trapping applications over the entire solar spectrum.

Therefor it’s expected that  Blu-ray patterns could be broadly applied for light trapping in other kinds of solar cells.