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Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed a breakthrough in energy-efficient phototransistors. Such devices could eventually help computers process visual information more like the human brain and be used as sensors in things like self-driving vehicles.


The structures rely on a new type of semiconductor -- metal-halide perovskites -- which have proven to be highly efficient at converting sunlight into electrical energy and shown tremendous promise in a range of other technologies.


"In general, these perovskite semiconductors are a really unique functional system with potential benefits for a number of different technologies," said Jeffrey Blackburn, a senior scientist at NREL and co-author of a new paper outlining the research. "NREL became interested in this material system for photovoltaics, but they have many properties that could be applied to whole different areas of science."

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