While the idea of getting electricity from the sun holds bright promise for many, one of the great challenges has been coming up with a low-cost, lightweight solar cell made of plastic that could absorb both visible and infrared rays.  With current polymers only capturing visible light, they convert only 6 percent of the sun’s energy into electrical power.  But according to Science News, researchers at the University of Toronto have come up with a new polymer made with semiconducting nanoparticles that can achieve efficiency up to an amazing 30 percent. With the material also holding promise for making inexpensive night-vision cameras for the military, this is one light material that could offer some pretty weighty contributions.

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