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Solar Cells to do what Plants Do

July 7, 2010

There is an interesting article about a prize winning solar technology development that offers the hope of driving the cost of solar cells down and down…  What is also interesting is that the method of doing this mirrors nature’s own solar power plants – plants:

Silicon cells absorb sunlight and generate electric charges, but the silicon also has to transport the charges and separate positively charged carriers from negatively charged ones. To do the separation, you need a positively doped and negatively doped layer of silicon and for this to work well you need very pure materials – solar grade silicon has to be 99.9999% pure. Our cell is different in the sense that it is close to what photosynthesis does in green leaves. The charges are generated by dye molecules and other constituents take care of the conduction. That separation was achieved for the first time by our cells – except for photosynthesis, which has been working for 3.5 billion years!

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