Would solar panels make good windows? Of course not, they’d be terrible! Researchers working on new photovoltaic (PV) cell technologies are making just such a device however, and they’re very different from what you’d expect. New research using quantum dots created by chemists at Los Alamos National Laboratory has allowed another step toward practical PV windows.

Non-tinted windows have just one priority. They allow light to pass straight through. Solar cells are precisely the opposite: they need to absorb as much light as possible. It transmutes the photons into electrons, and routes this electrical current out of the system.