The big, shiny black solar panels you're used to seeing bolted onto south-facing rooftops may soon be obsolete, if researchers at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute continue to advance solar nanoscience at their current lightspeed pace. In fact, you not only won't recognize the new technology, you won't even be able to see it -- because it will be virtually transparent. And instead of being mounted to the roof, these thin plastic flexible sheets will cover your windows and skylights, as well as smaller surfaces like the face of your smartphone or tablet. What if the sun's not shining brightly? No problem, because these polymer solar cells (PSCs) absorb mostly ultra-violet and near-infrared (NIR) light, rather than the visible light that more traditional solar technology relies upon.
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