Swiss researchers say they have developed an inexpensive but powerful solar cell, raising the prospect of the first large-scale electricity generation by the sun. The researchers reported last week in the British journal Nature that the cell was the most powerful yet developed. Large-scale use of solar cells for electricity is prohibitively expensive at present, costing 10 times more than coal, oil or gas.
Brian O'Regan and Michael Gratzel of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology said they created the cell using a film of the conducting material titanium so thin that it was transparent. The film was then coated with a layer of dye that worked as a light-attracting antenna.