IBM Research recently broke the world's efficiency record for inexpensive, thin-film solar cells by substituting widely available elements for the rare elements that make photovoltaic devices so expensive today. Look for IBM-licensed thin-film solar cells to begin appearing within three years. R.C.J.
If only an hour's worth of the sun's energy pouring down on the Earth could be harvested, it would power the entire planet for a year, according to David Mitzi, who leads the team at IBM Research (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) which developed its world's record holding thin-film solar cell. IBM's low-cost manufacturing technique nevertheless results in a new world's record for kesterite thin-film solar cells, 9.6 percent efficiency – 40 percent higher than the previous world record of 6.8 percent set last year by a Japanese research group at Nagaoka National College of Technology.
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