Heating Up Solar Power

  • Author: ChemistryViews
  • Published: 08 August 2010
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Stanford University/Nature Materials
thumbnail image: Heating Up Solar Power

Generation of electricity from solar power either uses the thermal energy to power a heat engine or the energy of each photon to initiate a redox reaction in a photovoltaic cell.


Photon enhanced thermionic emission (PETE), the solar converter developed by Nicholas Melosh and colleagues, Stanford University, USA, combines the two approaches to create a photovoltaic cell that can power a secondary thermal engine with its waste heat. Current photovoltaic cells only operate at temperatures too low to do this.


Measurements from gallium nitride show strong evidence for photon-enhanced thermionic emission. Coating a GaN semiconductor with a thin layer of cesium could allow the device to operate at temperatures exceeding 200 °C with theoretical conversion efficiencies above 50 %.


Article Views: 3116

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, please contact us first for permission and consult our permission guidance prior to making your request

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on YouTube Follow on LinkedIn Follow on Instagram RSS Sign up for newsletters

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH