Caltech and BP will develop a new type of solar-cell technology called nanorods. The joint team will explore a concept based on growing silicon by creating arrays of nanorods, as opposed to the more convention method of casting ingots and cutting wafers. Nanorods are small cylinders of silicon said to be 100 times smaller than a human hair. A solar cell based on an array of nanorods will be able to absorb light along the length of the rods by collecting the electricity generated by sunlight more efficiently than a conventional solar cell. Caltech and BP will also investigate uses of nanotechnology to create designer solar cell materials — such as nanorods and nanowires — in order to change the conventional paradigm for solar cell materials.