JAPAN'S Canon company, world-famous for its cameras, has adapted a technique used in making photocopiers to produce cheaper and more efficient solar cells.
The technique involves sandwiching amorphous silicon between two layers of amorphous silicon germanium (New Scientist, Vol 137, No 1865). Silicon and germanium are semiconductors, which means while they are not conductors in their pure form, they become conductors when doped with impurities.
Solar cells are now made using either slices of crystals such as silicon or noncrystalline semiconductors. The former are more efficient but they are expensive; the latter are cheaper, but their efficiency is low. Canon claims its solar cells will be both cheaper and more efficient.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.