Using Blu-Ray Discs to Boost Solar Cell Performance

Jan. 2, 2015

Data storage pattern for media improves light absorption. 

Blu-ray discs are a great medium for storing high-definition video, but unwanted discs could get a second life thanks to research from Northwestern University showing that the discs can be used to improve light absorption in solar cells. The discs’ semi-random pattern of islands and pits used to store video gives solar cells a desirable surface texture that can increase absorption over the broad spectrum of sunlight.

Repurposing Blu-Ray Movie Discs as Quasi-Random Nanoimprinting Templates for Photon Management, published in Nature Communications, explains how the nearly random sequence of zeros and ones on the discs provides a feature-size range between 150-525 nanometers, which can improve output throughout the solar spectrum. The researchers also tried random patterns, but found the Blu-ray patterns to be optimal, providing 21.8% overall broadband enhancement.

“In addition to improving polymer solar cells, our simulation suggests the Blu-ray patterns could be broadly applied for light trapping in other kinds of solar cells,” says Cheng Sun, one of the researchers on the project.

Looking for more solar options to benefit your facility’s bottom line? Take a look at how Solar Area Lighting could benefit your operations. 

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