As Oil prices going up and seems this is going to keep that way, more and more attentions is given to alternative energy sources. Probably solar energy is most attractive due to its nature. Don’t go in to discussions about what alternative energy is the best – all of them are good as long as they are effective.
Researchers in University of California, San Diego have been working on “hairy” solar cells. They discovered that growing nano-wires on photocells boost solar cell efficiency. Nanowires help to conduct electrons from collections surface to electrode.
“If nanowires are going to be used massively in photovoltaic devices, then the growth mechanism of nanowires on arbitrary metallic surfaces is an issue of great importance,” said Paul Yu, a professor at UC San Diego, and a member of the project team which published the nanowire research. “We contributed one approach to growing nanowires directly on metal.”
(From my perspective I see that scientists more and more are focusing on material geometrical structure (nano scale) than combining new materials – Remember Improving LED brightness).
“Hairy” solar cells could represent a significant advance in photovoltaic energy technology. That might lead to smaller, cheaper, easier-to-deploy solar panels a few years down the line – bring us a bit closer to a sun-powered future. [source]