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New Robots Build and Scrutinize Solar Cells – Self replication next?


Using robots to build things isn’t new. But robots that can build solar cells in 30 minutes, then evaluate their own work definitely is. The folks at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado have created multitasking robots that can build semiconductors for solar cells on six-inch-square plates of glass, plastic or flexible metals in around half an hour. It can also analyze glitches and measure light absorption at the same time.


Each robot operates as a central hub, dishing out plates to different chambers in which semiconductors that are built up in micro-thin layers or crystals (that help make the solar cells) are grown and tested. Each of the 6 robots specializes in different semiconductor materials or focuses on other aspects of solar cell production and testing.

Solar cells companies can use these robots to check out how their production process is going. Does this new tech efficiency perhaps give us a choice of futures … Skynet or the Matrix?

The race to build a better solar cell is looping through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory where new robots are fabricating thin-film cells and analyzing glitches faster and with more precision than ever before. How much faster? The robot working with silicon can build a semi-conductor on a six-inch-square plate of glass, plastic or flexible metal in about 35 minutes.

Tags: eco+gadget, solar+cell+building+robot, national+renewable+energy+laboratory, solar+cells

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