Photovoltaic Materials

Science  23 May 1980:
Vol. 208, Issue 4446, pp. 902-907
DOI: 10.1126/science.208.4446.902


Solid-state photovoltaic cells are feasible devices for converting solar energy directly to electricity. Recent cost reductions have spurred an incipient industry, but further advances in materials science and technology are needed before photovoltaic cells can compete with other sources for the supply of large amounts of energy. In this article energy loss mechanisms in solid-state photovoltaic cells are examined and related to materials properties. Various systems under development are reviewed which illustrate some key concepts, opportunities, and problems of this most promising emerging technology. Areas where contributions from innovative materials research would have a significant effect are also indicated.