Research led by The Australian National University could lead to cheaper and more efficient solar technology.

ANU engineers, in collaboration with researchers from the California Institute of Technology, have developed a way to combine silicon with perovskite to more efficiently convert sunlight into electricity.

Combining two materials in a tandem arrangement can be difficult but, once achieved, the efficiency of the solar cell can increase very quickly beyond what is possible with silicon alone.

The ANU team has found a way to join the materials together to form a type of “tandem solar cell” that is simpler and potentially cheaper and more efficient than current techniques.

Normally, when two type of cell are combined they need to have an interlayer to allow electrical charge to be transferred easily between the two cells.

The researchers have found a way to combine the two types cell without the need for an interlayer, making the tandem cell simpler and more efficient.

The new cells have already show a 24% improvement in efficiency and the researchers believe that there is plenty of potential to improve on that.