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24th Apr 2014

History of the modern silicon solar cell

On April 25, 1954, researchers from Bell Laboratories astonished reporters by hooking a hand-size silicon panel to a toy Ferris wheel, aiming a light at the contraption and making the wheel turn. Scientists had observed the ability of some materials to generate electricity from light as far back as 1839. At first, they didn't understand how the process worked. Well into the 20th century, they struggled to find practical ways to harness it. The Bell Labs demonstration, hailed by newspapers as the dawn of a new era, changed that.

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