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Breakthrough: Micro-Electronic Photovoltaics

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed tiny glitter-sized photovoltaic (PV) cells that could revolutionize solar energy collection. The crystalline silicon micro-PV cells will be cheaper and have greater efficiencies than current PV collectors. Micro-PV cells require relatively little material to form well-controlled, highly efficient devices. Cell fabrication uses common microelectronic and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) techniques. From 14-20 μm thick, they are ten times thinner than conventional cells, yet perform at about the same efficiency.