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Sustainability

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Chong Liu

SOLAR STAR Chong Liu, an inorganic chemist at UCLA, has pioneered new approaches to artificial photosynthesis that combine bacteria and inorganic materials.

Shanghai in October 2015

SMOG FOG  By blocking sunlight and dirtying solar panels, air pollution — as in this image of Shanghai on October 12, 2015 — can hamper the production of solar energy.

perovskite diagram

LAYER UP  Researchers are betting on a class of sunlight-absorbing materials called perovskites to improve today’s solar cells. A perovskite’s cagelike crystal structure (right) surrounds a chunky ion such as methyl­ammonium. The red, purple and orange balls are ions that can be varied so the material absorbs different wavelengths of light in its 3-D form (left).

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