Silicon nanorods. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of silicon nanorods. Silicon nanorods are part of a system that is being developed in an attempt to convert sunlight into fuel (oxygen and hydrogen), so that solar energy can be stored. Silicon is a semiconductor and is used commercially to convert sunlight into electricity. Current solar cells use layers of single-crystal silicon, which is expensive to produce. Silicon nanorods are cheaper to produce and so could replace such layers in future solar cells. Magnification x855 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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