Ultrathin solar cells promise improved satellite performance

As low Earth orbit becomes more cluttered, it becomes increasingly necessary to use middle Earth orbits, and radiation-tolerant cell designs will be needed. Making photovoltaics thinner should increase their longevity because the charge carriers have less far to go during their shortened lifetimes. Scientists propose a radiation-tolerant photovoltaic cell design that features an ultrathin layer of light-absorbing material. Compared to thicker cells, nearly 3.5 times less cover glass is needed for the ultra-thin cells to deliver the same amount of power after 20 years of operation.

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