Experimental silicon solar cell

Experimental silicon solar cell

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Description (Brief)
Scientists and inventors in the 19th century recognized that some materials respond electrically to exposure to light. Alexander Graham Bell, for example, demonstrated in 1880 a “photophone” that could transmit voices using the action of sunlight on selenium. In the 1930s, Daryl Chapin studied magnetic recording at Bell Labs but later shifted to research on generating electricity with sunlight. In 1954, building on earlier work done by colleague Russell Ohl on fused silicon, Chapin, Calvin Fuller and Gerald Pearson invented a practical solar cell. In 1969 Chapin donated two of his experimental solar cells to the Smithsonian. He also donated a module used in a test installation in Americus, Georgia, to power a rural telephone relay.
Object Name
solar cell
photovoltaic cell
date made
associated date
associated user
Bell Laboratories
overall: 3 3/4 in x 2 in x 1/8 in; 9.525 cm x 5.08 cm x.3175 cm
cell only: 2 in x 3/8 in x 1/8 in; 5.08 cm x.9525 cm x.3175 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
from Bell Telephone Laboratories, thru Daryl M. Chapin
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Work and Industry: Electricity
Energy & Power
Inventing in America
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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