Location: Solar Technology Setup 1920-1950
Solar Technology Setup, Inventions made from 1920-1950 For the 5 decades of research, investment, technological breakthrough, and innovation between 1915 and 1955 lagged. Albert Einstein the next notable scientist to take up solar research, working on using solar photovoltaic power generation. He was even granted a Nobel Prize in physics in 1921 for his work on the photo-electric effect. However, these years were dominated with other research, including the nuclear physics projects. The years went by without any generation of solar power from the 1920's when the process to purify the metals required was developed. Many experiments took place behind military "CLOSED" doors and could have been early solar, but as of yet we don't see the historical record of this. Let's just say the lightbulbs did "flicker", but never came on.
The modern solar cell finds it's roots in the invention of the Czochralski process. The Czochralski process is a method of crystal growth used to obtain single crystals of semiconductors (e.g. silicon, germanium and gallium arsenide), metals (e.g. palladium, platinum, silver, gold), salts, and synthetic gemstones. The process is named after Polish scientist Jan Czochralski, who discovered the method in 1916 while investigating the crystallization rates of metals.
The most important application may be the growth of large cylindrical ingots, or boules, of single crystal silicon. This process was used to produce pure crystalline silicone by the 1954 Bell Telephone Laboratories, which developed and produced the first silicon photovoltaic cell a few years later. This first cell had a four percent efficiency that was later boosted to an 11% efficiency.