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2D Material Based Spiral Solar Cell

Technology #015-38-sorger

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Prof. Volker Sorger
Research specialist whose interest involves mainly constructing novel optoelectronic devices, microelectronics, VLSI systems.
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Mohammad H. Tahersima
Ph.D. student at George Washington University. He is working under Prof. Sorger's Group and his research interest involves renewable technology, nano-electronic, nanophotonic devices.
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Jerry Comanescu
Licensing Associate (202) 994-8975
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Provisional Patent Application Filed
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NCMS_015-038-Sorger_Spiral_Solar_Cell_ver.5.ecr.pdf [PDF]

Researchers at George Washington University have recently developed an improved Solar Cell material.  While photovoltaic cells based on semiconducting two-dimensional (2D) transition metal dichalcogenides exhibit strong light absorption relative to its thickness; the reported photo absorption is still just a few percent due to their thinness, causing low overall cell efficiencies. However, taking advantage of the mechanical flexibility of 2D materials by rolling a stack to make a spiral solar cell can increase sola absorption up to 90%.

The multi-layered cylinder structure is responsible for enhanced light matter interaction and hence for raising the absorption from ~10% for the planar structures to 90% for the cylindrical structures. The researchers have come up with 2 different designs with same basic idea: a) Spiral Cell Structure b) Core-shell Structure as show in the following figure. 

Experiments show that planar solar cells using stack of  Graphene, 1 mm thick MoS2, and gold could give current density of about 25.5 mA/cm2 while for spiral structures resulting spectral current density is about 30-43 mA/cm2. The spiral design enables light absorption enhancement (~50%) within only ~10% of the photoactive material used in the conventional planar structures.

This design has implemented unique way for enhanced Light Matter Interaction. The power conversion efficiency of these designs range currently ranges up to 13% which is equivalent to current nano-solar cell structures. It is expected that future improvements in growth of these novel materials and design combination can achieve much higher efficiencies.


• Wide range of solar cell applications, rectennas, light emission


• Very small in dimensions

• Very efficient use of semiconducting photoactive material (~10% of the cell)

• High photo absorption compared to atomically thin or even bulk configurations

• Real prospect of power conversion efficiencies of up to 27%  

• Varying hBN thickness tunes the device for maximum absorption efficiency or efficient use of photoactive material


a) Spiral Cell Structure b) Core-shell Structure c) The table listing dimensions of each layer in nm