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Nanowires Suck Up Light from Around Them


The unusual optical properties of nanowires could lead to cheaper, more efficient solar panels, new research suggests.

Researchers in Denmark and Switzerland have built solar cells from individual nanowires, and showed that the nanowires absorbed far more light than expected based on their size. The solar cells behaved as if they were gathering light from an area eight times larger than their physical size, the researchers write in the current issue of Nature Photonics. This property could lead to solar cells that use less material than conventional ones, yet convert more of the energy in sunlight into electricity, reducing the cost of solar power.

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