Science: Solar Batteries

Turning the sun's energy directly into electricity has long been a goal of scientists. In Washington last week, the Bell Telephone Laboratories demonstrated a solar battery which can convert sunlight into usable electric current without costly intermediate steps.

The Bell Solar Battery resembles a miniature xylophone. It is made of wafer-thin strips of specially treated silicon, linked in series. Silicon is a semiconductor, i.e., under certain conditions it can be made to carry electricity.

The silicon in the battery is first grown in pure crystals, cut into strips, then impregnated to a depth of only one ten-thousandth of an inch with minor impurities....

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