Solar panels have been around for decades, but they haven’t changed too much in terms of efficiency. Now, scientists at MIT have discovered that by combining a modified virus with nanotechnology, they can improve solar panel efficiency by about a third.
As Ben Coxworth over at GizMag explains, nanotubes have traditionally suffered from clumping together, shorting each other out and restricting effectiveness. The addition of a genetically engineered virus to the process forces the nanotubes into a rigid position apart from each other. Scientists can then change the acidity of the environment to make the fixing permanent.
The process not only increases efficiency of the solar panel from eight per cent to 10.6 per cent, but also makes the nanotubes water-soluble, which means they can be created at room temperature.
The breakthrough means that we can expect some significantly more advanced solar panels hitting the market in a few years time.