The number of bugs in a chip is relatively proportional to the number of transistors - Bob Colwell, former Intel chief architect
The wire said boffin Yoshitaka Okada from Tsukuba University has created a prototype "quantum dot" cell in a more efficient way.
The professor stacked serial semiconductors - "quantum dots" - each of which is only 10-20 nanometres thin, to create a cell several millimetres square, said Nikkei.net.
The dots are made from an indium arsenide compound and so far deliver seven per cent conversion efficiency, but they're able to create electricity from a light spectrum which includes ultraviolet and infrared. Current cells offer 20 per cent efficiency, with 30 per cent efficiencies touted for the future.
But if you're thinking of painting lashings of quantum dots on your south facing roof, you'll have to wait quite a while. The theoretical higher efficiencies of 63 per cent aren't likely to be available until 2020. µ
Nikkei sub needed
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ