Letters

Light-Splitting Method Not New

Science  05 Oct 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5847, pp. 43b-44b
DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5847.43b

The News of the Week article “Light-splitting trick squeezes more electricity out of Sun's rays” (E. Kintisch, 3 August, p. 583) conveys the erroneous impression that a spectral splitting solar concentrator using a dichroic mirror is a novel, unproven method to achieve high efficiency. Although the group at the University of Delaware deserves commendation for setting an efficiency record, the approach is not new. In 1978, a group at Varian, working under a U.S. Department of Energy/Sandia contract, demonstrated an identical system using silicon and AlGaAs cells (1). The 28.5% module efficiency set a record at the time, which has been surpassed with the advent of stacked multijunction cells. Today, textbooks on photovoltaics describe such systems (2).

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