Narrator: This is Science Today. Semiconductor materials, which form the basis for modern electronics, have had a long history with solar cell technology. Electrical engineer Ed Yu of the University of California, San Diego, who also directs the campus' Center for Energy Research, says that's because semiconductor materials are good for converting light into electricity.
Yu: It's actually quite a natural combination to have people who think about electronic devices, semiconductor devices generally, developing solar cell technology. But over the past few decades, research in solar energy has been something that's gone through kind of boom and bust cycles. So, back in the 1970s and early 80s when there was the oil crisis and so forth, there was a large increase and interest in solar energy and solar energy research. That subsided to a great degree in the 80s and 90s, but there's now a resurgence in solar cells, solar energy and renewable energy technologies generally.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.