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(Phys.org) —For solar panels, wringing every drop of energy from as many photons as possible is imperative. This goal has sent chemistry, materials science and electronic engineering researchers on a quest to boost the energy-absorption efficiency of photovoltaic devices, but existing techniques are now running up against limits set by the laws of physics.

Now, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University have experimentally demonstrated a new paradigm for solar cell construction which may ultimately make them less expensive, easier to manufacture and more efficient at harvesting energy from the sun.
Quote:
"The family of materials we've made with the bulk photovoltaic effect goes through the entire solar spectrum," Rappe said. "So we could grow one material but gently change the composition as we're growing, resulting in a single material that performs like a multi-junction solar cell."

"This family of materials." Spanier said, "is all the more remarkable because it is comprised of inexpensive, non-toxic and earth-abundant elements, unlike compound semiconductor materials currently used in efficient thin-film solar cell technology."

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This tech is clearly in it's infant stages. But I have great hopes for it nonetheless.

edit: I know the reading is a bit of a challenge, but basically they've taken all of the engineering and complication of producing multi-layer solar cells and wrapped it up into one material. It's a little bigger than your average breakthrough in the field.
Edited by un-midas touch - 11/15/13 at 2:12pm
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The Mad Cow
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Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3570 CPU @ 3.40GHz Gigabyte H61M-S2H HIS Radeon HD 6670 Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 ... 
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Western Digital Caviar Blue Samsung/Hitachi something or other assortment of leftovers from old systems hot-gl... Xubuntu 15.04 
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Sony whatevs Logitech K400 Thermaltake Smart650 Hand-me-down Gateway case 
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Can you believe I got it at a gas station? worth more than the software it came with. Sup... JVC XX in-ears Logitech f310 
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