The Geophysical Laboratory's Tim Strobel talks in the November issue of New Scientist about hacking silicon's structure to make it more efficient for use in computer chips and solar panels.
The element may have a whole valley named after it, but the atomic structure limits its ability to conduct electricity. This means that while silicon is ubiquitous, it's efficiency eventually hits a wall. But Strobel and his team last year created a new form of silicon, Si24, one that could improve a solar cell's ability to harvest the suns energy. “You just need to squish it by 2 percent,” he said of this new and improved silicon.
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