Stanford engineers have built upon the work of German physicist Gustav Mie over a century after
his mathematical derivations that explain why colors in stained glass exhibit brilliancy when placed under sunlight. The Stanford team has determined how to improve light absorption efficiency in nanowires made of germanium semiconductors. This may in turn prove to be an effective
component for future solar cells. Furthermore, because of the compatibility of germanium with computer chips, this process may have applications in improving data communications.
The center of the Stanford team’s discovery is that varying sizes of wires will absorb different frequencies of light with great efficiency. With this method, alternating sizes of the germanium nanowires may be used to produce optimal solar panels. Their next goal is to construct a solar
cell prototype using germanium nanowire technology.
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