Researchers have found what Optics.org refers to as the “holy grail” of photovoltaics: A semiconductor that can collect energy from the entire spectrum of light.
The story says that the news, originally report the Journal of Solar Materials, was accidental. The team stumbled upon a mix of argon and selenium when a cylinder filled with argon leaked over a bowl of brazil nuts the team was researching.
The previous high in solar cell efficiency was 46 percent. The 100 percent finding was confirmed by the U.K.’s National Sunshine Laboratory. Once commercialized, panels comprised of the material could revolutionize the solar industry and perhaps energy generation in general.
In February, Popular Mechanics reported on a paper published at ACS Central Science that looked at the possibility of transitioning solar energy storage from batteries to hydrogen gas. Hydrogen gas can be stored indefinitely and has the highest energy density of any gas or liquid fuel.