ANTONIO ROMERO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANTONIO ROMERO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Polycrystalline silicon solar cell, light micrograph. This photovoltaic cell converts light into electrical energy. This is a clean and renewable source of energy. The cell is made from a polycrystalline silicon nitride wafer (blue), a semiconductor material, covered by a grid of electrodes. The thinner lines (vertical), known as fingers, are made of silver nanoparticles. These collect the current and deliver it to the busbars (one across bottom), which direct the current out of the cell. Polycrystalline cells are less efficient than monocrystalline cells, but are far cheaper to manufacture. Magnification: x4 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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