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Popcorn-ball Design Doubles Efficiency of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

The thin light-absorbing film is made of zinc oxide about 10 micrometers (10,000 nanometers) thick. This image was taken using a scanning electron microscope.

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Popcorn-ball Design Doubles Efficiency of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

A closer image of the film shows that it is composed of tiny balls. Each ball is about 300 nanometers across.

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Popcorn-ball Design Doubles Efficiency of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

A close-up of a single ball, taken with a scanning electron microscope. The 300-nanometer sphere is large enough to scatter light. But its insides are made of tiny grains just 15 nanometers across.