BRUCE FRISCH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BRUCE FRISCH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Close-up of a single-crystal silicon photovoltaic cell. The cell has a circular shape, as it is a slice from a cylindrical silicon crystal. The surface of the cell is covered with a thin layer of a second semiconductor, normally germanium. The radial bright lines are silver conductors which carry the electricity from the cell. Single-crystal solar cells are relatively efficient (converting about 14% of incident light to electricity), but very expensive.
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