Going green is de rigeur, so the sun is becoming a much-preferred source of power. However, solar cells' inefficient harvesting of heliacal energies is a major reason they haven't usurped the power of petroleum. Good thing the big brains at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are looking to change that with nanocone-based solar technology. The teeny-tiny cones are made of zinc oxide and create "an intrinsic electric field distribution" to improve electrical charge transport within solar cells. We aren't sure what that means, but we do know the prickly-looking design provides a 3.2 percent light-to-power conversion efficiency that's a substantial improvement over the meager 1.8 percent offered by today's flat photovoltaics made of similar materials. That's 80 percent more efficient, and 100 percent more awesome.
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