Sharp Triple Layer Solar Cell Sets New Efficiency Record

The gauntlet has been thrown down yet again in the solar cell efficiency arms race. This time Sharp comes up with a cell that can harvest 35.8% of available sunlight.

How do they do it? With a triple junction compound solar cell that uses three photo absorption layers made from elements like indium and gallium. I'll leave it to the physical chemistry geniuses among you to explain exactly what that means in the comments.

You might have heard of efficiency ratings that climb into the 40% range. Sharp even lists one in their press release. To clarify, those are different tests. Apparently there's a distinction made in efficiency ratings between concentrated and unfocused light. The more you know, right?

Don't expect to be covering your house in these soon, they're meant for use in satellites. [Akihabara via Engadget]