Check us out at http://www.tutorvista.com A solar cell is a device that converts the energy of sunlight directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. Sometimes the term solar cell is reserved for devices intended specifically to capture energy from sunlight such as solar panels and solar cells, while the term photovoltaic cell is used when the light source is unspecified. Assemblies of cells are used to make solar panels, solar modules, or photovoltaic arrays. Photovoltaics is the field of technology and research related to the application of solar cells in producing electricity for practical use. The energy generated this way is an example of solar energy (also known as solar power). The term "photovoltaic" comes from the Greek meaning "light", and "voltaic", meaning electric, from the name of the Italian physicist Volta, after whom a unit of electro-motive force, the volt, is named. The term "photo-voltaic" has been in use in English since 1849. The photovoltaic effect was first recognized in 1839 by French physicist A. E. Becquerel. However, it was not until 1883 that the first solar cell was built, by Charles Fritts, who coated the semiconductor selenium with an extremely thin layer of gold to form the junctions. The device was only around 1% efficient. Subsequently Russian physicist Aleksandr Stoletov built the first solar cell based on the outer photoelectric effect (discovered by Heinrich Hertz earlier in 1887). Albert Einstein explained the photoelectric effect in 1905 for which he received the Nobel prize in Physics in 1921. Russell Ohl patented the modern junction semiconductor solar cell in 1946, which was discovered while working on the series of advances that would lead to the transistor.
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