Get ready for super-charged solar cells! MIT researchers announced this week that they have developed self-assembling solar cells that can be broken down and rebuilt repeatedly, much like plant cells. The solar cells constantly renew themselves, which means the technology could ultimately lead to longer-lasting commercial cells.

MIT’s technology hinges upon a synthetic chloroplast that contains self-assembling molecules that, according to Popular Science, “assemble themselves into uniform structures suitable for harvesting solar energy.” When in the presence of a surfectant (i.e. dispersants used in the Gulf oil spill) the molecules break down, push the surfectant out through a membrane, and reassemble into fresh solar cells that haven’t been touched by the sun.

So far, the cells are still in the research and development phase, but MIT researchers say they already work at 40% efficiency. Stay tuned.

Via Popular Science