NewEnergyNews: THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 5 (continued from yesterday)

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    Friday, April 18, 2014

    THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 5 (continued from yesterday)

    So what happened after science finally discovered the secret...

    For the 60th anniversary of the silicon solar cell, PV60 – History Becoming the Future, is being organized by the Renewables 100 Policy Institute and co-sponsored by the City of Palo Alto on April 18, 2014. To join the celebration, NewEnergyNews will run, on April 18 and 19, eight questions and answers about the silicon solar cell’s history from John Perlin, the author of Let It Shine: The 6,000 Year Story Of Solar Energy.

    5-So what happened [after science finally discovered the secret of photovoltaics]?

    The semiconductor revolution began at Bell Laboratories that started with the discovery of the transistor and took silicon electronics from theory to working device led to the great breakthrough that we are celebrating this year. Serendipitously, Gerald Pearson, a Bell scientist, took one of the first silicon transistors and applied light to it. To his surprise, he recorded an efficiency of almost six times greater than any other solar cell had ever produced. Like Archimedes, he ran down the hall at the lab, shouting to a colleague, Daryl Chapin, who was working with selenium at the time for a remote telephone power project, “Don’t waste another moment on selenium!,” and gave him his piece of doped silicon. So began the Bell Solar Battery project that a year later in 1954 produced the most significant breakthrough in solar history and perhaps, the history of electricity – a solar cell capable of converting enough sunlight directly into electricity for useful purposes. click here for more

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