According to the CBC, solar cells made using nanoparticles "microscopic particles just 30 to 40 atoms across" can be made cheaply with "far less energy than conventional silicon solar cells."
The zinc phosphide nanoparticle solar cells are also cheaper than conventional solar cells because the process used to make them is very low-energy, Buriak said.
Silicon solar cells are made from sand in a process that involves heating the materials repeatedly to very high temperatures around 1000 C. As a result, Buriak estimated, it takes three to six years for the resulting solar cell to generate the amount of power used to manufacture it in the first place.
On the other hand, the solar nanoparticles are actually made in a standard, bubbling pot glassware set up in the lab the traditional image of chemistry from elements that are very abundant, Buriak said.
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