dptalia notes the recent publication in Science
of research demonstrating a way to use hot electrons in solar cells
, resulting in an overall energy conversion efficiency of 66%. Here is the abstract
; access to the full article requires a subscription. "A team of University of Minnesota-led researchers has cleared a major hurdle in the drive to build solar cells with potential efficiencies up to twice as high as current levels, which rarely exceed 30 percent. ... Tisdale and his colleagues demonstrated that quantum dots — made not of silicon but of another semiconductor called lead selenide — could indeed be made to surrender their 'hot' electrons before they cooled. The electrons were pulled away by titanium dioxide, another common inexpensive and abundant semiconductor material that behaves like a wire."