Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Popeye's Favorite Solar Cells

Solar cells made from the spinach leaf? It sounds improbable, but that's exactly what a team of researchers is working on, taking advantage of the ability of plants and photosynthetic bacteria to convert photons to energy. In this article from Technology Review, researchers from MIT, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, and the University of Tennessee have achieved initial 12 percent power-conversion efficiency rates, combining biology and electronics to create photosynthetic molecules. A traditional solar cell, the product of several decades of research, achieves 20 efficiency. This new approach sounds promising.