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Michael Kelzenberg
Graduate Student, Electrical Engineering

This graph shows a measurement of the external quantum efficiency of a silicon wire array solar cell, as the incidence angle of a 450nm light source is varied in two dimensions. This solar cell is made of microscopic silicon wires—tall, narrow cylinders arranged sparsely in a square grid, like an orchard of trees planted neatly in rows and columns. At certain angles of illumination, light can pass between the rows of wires without being collected, just as we can see down the entire length of an orchard in certain directions as we drive by. This effect contributes to the fascinating angular dependence depicted here, which has not been altered except to be rendered in a particularly patriotic color scheme for our enjoyment.

mk@caltech.edu

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The 2009 Art of Science Competition was made possible by Student Affairs, the Art Committee, and Robert and Esther Metzner.
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