A Flat-Out Major Advance for an Emerging Solar Cell Technology

Published in Science, 11 Sep 2013

A promising solar cell material can be manufactured using the same method as the cheapest silicon devices, without sacrificing energy-production efficiency. The advance boosts the chances that the cheap material could be adopted by existing industry.

A solar cell converts sunlight into electricity. A typical cell contains layers of materials known as semiconductors—most often silicon. When a particle of light, or photon, strikes an atom in one of these semiconductors, it knocks free a negative electron that can scoot through the material and leaves behind a positively charged “hole” that can also move about. The electrons and holes travel in opposite directions, through layers of semiconductors with different properties, to create a flow of current. […]

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