The invention of the photovoltaic cell.


The photovoltaic effect is the creation of voltage and electric current in certain materials when exposed to light. This effect makes solar panels useful.

  • In 1839, the French physicist Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel invented the photovoltaic cell and discovered the photovoltaic effect.
  • He first constructed an electrochemical cell with platinum electrodes. Then, he illuminated the electrodes with sunlight and ultraviolet light and discovered that current flowed through the acidic solution and a voltage was generated.
  • Here is a labelled diagram of his cell:

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The platinum electrodes were coated with silver chloride or silver bromide.



Here is a photograph of Edmond Becquerel:

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