Solar-powered device generates electricity through ion transport and could lead to low-cost for seawater desalination

By binding photosensitive dyes to common plastic membranes and adding water, chemists at the University of California, Irvine have made a new type of solar power generator. The device is similar to familiar silicon photovoltaic cells but differs in a fundamental way: Instead of being produced via electrons, its electricity comes from the motion of ions. Dubbed the “synthetic, light-driven proton pump” by its creators, the innovation – because of its ionic basis – has the added potential capability of taking the salt out of seawater. “The materials used to make such a device can be dirt-cheap,” said Shane Ardo, [