Materials Most solar cells are made of silicon, which continues to be costly and energy-intensive to make. In addition to improving silicon technologies, UW–Madison researchers are experimenting with other materials for making solar cells. This solar cell (above) is made from an organic dye called copper phthalocyanine, an inexpensive material often used in products such as blue plastic, cars, and clothing.

From batteries to solar panels, the materials used to create clean energy technologies are often the crux of their innovation. By developing new materials and new fabrication methods, researchers at UW–Madison increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of existing energy technologies while also creating new possibilities. With new transistors, new nanomaterials, better battery components, or new ways of creating solar cells, our materials experts use the micro to transform the macro.