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Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory say they've developed a new manufacturing process that allows them to build a material that could goose up the power output of solar cells, reaching efficiencies of 45% compared to the 25% to 39% currently possible. It's done using a tricky process of injecting additional oxygen into the semiconductor material, creating an extra layer that can capture more light. It's said to be a promising development:

If they overcome some of the hurdles still presented by the laws of physics, at least one colleague at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory believes material scientists Wladek Walukiewicz and Kin Man Yu's research represents a "breakthrough" in solar energy generation technology.

But wait. If we're going to overcome the laws of physics, who needs solar energy? Why not just create a perpetual motion machine? But still, we like solar; after all, it's going to power our new car.

New Semiconductor Material Produces More Efficient Solar Cells [treehugger]