Wiring in more sun

By changing the crystal structure of a substance, or the stacking of its atoms, it is possible to give the substance completely new properties. NTNU researchers have now managed to change the crystal structure of nanowires made of gallium arsenide and other semiconductors, which are used in solar cells. When these nanowires are “grown” with an atomic beam in a very high vacuum, the structure is changed so that they absorb light in a new way. With this level of control over the development of the nanowire’s crystal structure, scientists can design solar cells that absorb light the way they want them to.