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Rapid City scientist examines future of nano solar cells

RAPID CITY (AP) -- A researcher at the South Dakota School of Mines is working to make nano solar cells more efficient and applicable to the commercial market.

RAPID CITY (AP) - A researcher at the South Dakota School of Mines is working to make nano solar cells more efficient and applicable to the commercial market.

The Rapid City Journal reports that professor Phil Ahrenkiel's goal is to place the solar cells in aluminum, one of the cheapest and most common metals, in order to make them less expensive.

Ahrenkiel says the solar energy generated by the cells probably wouldn't be enough to power a home, but there could be other uses, such as in military applications or portable power sources for backpackers.

He says aluminum would make the perfect material for flexible, durable, highly efficient nano solar cells in the commercial market and beyond. He imagines the solar cells could be coated on a roll of tinfoil, sewn into clothes or painted on cars.

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