Physicists from University of Utrecht designed and 3D printed light traps that will help increase the efficiency of solar cells. These light concentrators will boost the strength of light waves within the solar cells. It works by trapping sunlight and enabling solar cells to maximize the use of sunlight and optimize its output, thus decreasing the cost of solar energy.
The 3D printed design can be incorporated to almost every solar cell that is being commercially used. The light trap is a parabolic concentrator that redirects light back towards the solar cell, as a regular cell reflects about 20 percent of light. There retro-reflections enable higher absorbance and improved power conversion efficiency.
On estimate, the energy output will increase by 12 percent when light traps will be used. However, it still depends on the type of solar cell and the type of light. This development will revolutionize the current designs of solar cells which are thick and expensive. It will allow the creation of smaller solar panels that still offer outstanding efficiency and power generation but cheaper.
Source: 3ders.org, 3dforged.com