III-V wafer bonding has enabled a new world record for the conversion of sunlight into electricity, announced the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin. Creating a new solar cell structure with four solar subcells, the team took the lead after only over three years of research, entering the roadmap with a new record efficiency of 44.7%. This indicates that 44.7% of the solar spectrum’s energy, from ultraviolet through to the infrared, is converted into electrical energy. This is a major step towards reducing further the costs of solar electricity and continues to pave the way to the 50% efficiency roadmap. Wafer bonding plays a central role, as it enables the connection of two semiconductor crystals that otherwise cannot be grown on top of each other with high crystal quality. This produces the optimal semiconductor combination for the highest efficiency solar cells.
A few weeks prior, Soitec announced the launched of a new solar-energy concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) module featuring 31.8% efficiency, the highest of any commercial module being mass produced today.