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Surprising Science

Solar Power and Nanotechnology

“New antenna made of carbon nanotubes could make photovoltaic cells more efficient by concentrating solar energy.” MIT News on where renewable energy and nanotechnology intersect.

“Solar cells are usually grouped in large arrays, often on rooftops, because each cell can generate only a limited amount of power. However, not every building has enough space for a huge expanse of solar panels. Using carbon nanotubes (hollow tubes of carbon atoms), MIT chemical engineers have found a way to concentrate solar energy 100 times more than a regular photovoltaic cell. Such nanotubes could form antennas that capture and focus light energy, potentially allowing much smaller and more powerful solar arrays.”


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