A team at the University of Cambridge has proposed an ultra-thin photovoltaic cell design that can withstand the radiation that damages and reduces the efficiency of conventional solar cell materials in space.
This means that these solar panels can be placed in high orbits around the Earth (for example, the Molnia orbit that passes through the center of our planet’s proton radiation belt).
They can cause radiation effects in space
According to Independent Turkish News Way Low-Earth orbits have become more crowded and chaotic in recent years, making mid-Earth orbits more necessary for satellites.
Other applications include space exploration in harsh radiation environments such as Jupiter’s moon Europa. To land a solar-powered spacecraft on Europa’s surface, radiation-proof solar panels must be developed.
Two types of photovoltaic devices have been manufactured: one using design-on-chip; Another has a mirror back to increase light absorption.
Scientists experimented by bombarding solar cells with protons produced at the Dalton Cumbrian nuclear facility. In this way they were able to simulate the effects of radiation in space.
Researcher Dr. “Our ultrathin solar cell outperforms previously studied thicker devices for proton radiation above a certain threshold,” said Armin Bartel.
Ultra-thin geometries offer two orders of magnitude positive performance compared to previous observations.
Scientists claim that ultra-thin photovoltaic batteries will be a lighter load, which will significantly reduce launch costs.
A paper detailing the research, titled “Radiation Effects in Ultrathin GaAs Solar Cells,” was published Tuesday in the scientific journal of Applied Physics.