|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
|Question Date: 2004-11-04|
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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