ROSENFELD IMAGES LTD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROSENFELD IMAGES LTD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Solar cell manufacture. Technician removing blue, circular solar cells from a chamber used in their manufacture. The cells are made by a physical vapour deposition process. During this process the chamber is filled with a hot, charged vapour (plasma) at a very low pressure. Ions in this plasma are slowly deposited on the cells to form almost perfect crystals. Solar cells are made of crystalline wafers of a semiconductor such as silicon. Solar cells work by using the energy in sunlight to release electrons in the semiconductor. These electrons are picked up and transmitted to create an electric current by a grid of fine wires on the cell's surface.
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