Researchers at University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University have found a way to use "novel materials" to double the current solar efficiency from about 20% to 40% or more through the use of UV on nanocrystals to induce changes in shape and emit more colors.
Currently, the develop will be used for spacecrafts designed by NASA.
What it means is that we'll see this eventually be on our roofs but it'll be a while. Obviously.
The wizard behind this is Dr. Omar Manasreh at the University of Arkansas.
The details are a bit technical but not too difficult to understand. First, they have to convert nanocyrstals into solar cells using some materials we already use in solar cells - copper, indium, gallium, and seleium or GIGS (this is something you can try to remember and impress people with).
It's their method that is novel. And by exposing the crystals to UV and growing the crystals in liquid, it is able to emit more light and double efficiency of the materials.
Impressed? Me too! But for those of us looking to install these new liquid grown nano cells on our roofs, well, I don't think it'll happen for a while. However, I figure if you install solar panels now, which will likely for for itself 5-10 years from now, these new panels should be ready and you can upgrade then.