A transmission electron microscope image of a CZTS nanocrystal (Photo Credit: Center for Advanced Materials and Characterization of Oregon)
Researchers at the University of Utah have discovered a method for creating solar cell material using the same microwave found in most kitchens (Photo Credit: Lee J. Siegel, University of Utah)
Prashant Sarswat and Michael Free, two metallurgical engineers at the University of Utah, devised a cheaper, faster method using a microwave that had previously been in a kitchen used by students (Photo Credit: Lee J. Siegel, University of Utah)
For most people, experiments involving a home microwave typically don't go much further than inflating a marshmallow like a balloon or reheating leftovers in plasticware – both with messy results. For metallurgists though, microwaves are sometimes employed to efficiently process metals, which is how researchers at the University of Utah found themselves using a secondhand kitchen appliance in their lab. Their resourcefulness paid off recently, when the team discovered a method for creating solar cell material with just a few basic ingredients and an old microwave.
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