|Dear scientists, Our names are Carlos, Cole and
Anjel. Were from Guadalupe, CA. We've been working
on solar ovens, and have got ours up to 165 F in
just a few minutes (melted chocolate for smores).
Now my partners and I wanted to know how solar
batteries worked. Thanks From Carlos, Cole, and
Solar batteries convert light energy into
electricity. This do this by taking light and
splitting it into electrons and holes (holes are
like anti-electrons). These electrons and holes
are separated in an electrical circuit, and this
leads to the flow of current.
In the 1950s, it was discovered that a high number
of free electrons could be formed when light was
shined on a silicon wafer.By "capturing" these
electrons, the researchers were able to convert
this into an electrical current. This is known as
a photovoltaic (light - electricity) cell.The
photovoltaic effect was actually known about
(using different materials) much earlier this than
this, with the first observation of this effect in
the mid-1800s. However, the types of solar cells
made with these other materials could only achieve
an efficiency of about 1%. The significance of
the work in the 1950s was that photovoltaic cells
using silicon were demonstrated to have an
efficiency of about 6%. I think the best present
day photovoltaic cells operate at around 15% or
maybe a little bit more.
On a side note,
Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize for his work
that he published in 1904 on the photoelectric effect.
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