PV, heal thyself

Many materials are destroyed by sunlight, so making new, long-lasting photovoltaic materials for energy conversion is a difficult task. Now, researchers at MIT have emulated plants' self-repair mechanisms in the design of their new materials to overcome this problem. Writing in Nature Chemistry, Michael Strano and colleagues have created a novel set of self-assembling phospholipid molecules that can turn sunlight into electricity; the molecules can be repeatedly broken down and then reassembled quickly, just by adding or removing an additional solution. Strano also claims a doubling of photo efficiency for the new materials.