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Photosynthesis refers to the process through which plants harness the energy from the sun to produce their own food through their leaves. The leaves absorb photons to produce energy that is necessary for photosynthesis. Water is also very essential in the process of photosynthesis since it reduces photons to other components which make the plants food. Some products of photosynthesis such as oxygen are released to the atmosphere while the light energy in form of ATP or NADPH is transformed to chemical energy (Hopkins, 2006).
A semiconductor-based solar cell refers to a class of materials with electrical properties that are determined by the conductors and insulators that are used for its construction. It is made by humans to produce electricity when it harnesses solar energy. Energy from the sun is trapped by the solar cells in the semiconductors converting it to electricity (Haile and O’Connell, 2005).
Several similarities and differences can be drawn from photosynthesis and the semi conductors that harness energy from the sun. The major similarity is that both photosynthesis and the semi conductor trap energy from the sun. Plants use the energy trapped from the sun to make their food while the semi conductors convert the energy trapped from the sun into electricity. The second similarity is that both contain cells which are responsible for trapping the sun’s energy. The semi conductor uses its cells to trap and convert energy from the sun into electricity while plant’s cells trap and convert energy from the sun into useful products (Haile and O’Connell, 2005). The third similarity is the fact that both processes transform solar energy into useful end products. The end products in photosynthesis are useful products (Hopkins, 2006). The solar cells absorb energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.
There are several differences between semi conductors and photosynthesis. After conversion, the two systems generally produce very distinct forms of energy. Plants cell convert the energy from the sun into chemical energy while the semi conductors cell convert the trapped energy into electricity (Haile and O’Connell, 2005). The second difference is in their form of production. Plants cell harness and convert energy from the sun to make their food naturally. Solar cell on the other hand does not function naturally but is designed to trap the energy and convert it into electricity. The third difference is that, plant cell have chloroplast in the cytoplasm necessary for absorbing and converting sunlight into energy (Hopkins, 2006). The solar cell however contains conductors and insulators that play the part of absorbing and converting solar energy into electricity.
It is essential to note that the laws of thermodynamics are applicable to both photosynthesis and semi conductors. Plants obey the first law of thermodynamics since they convert light energy into food energy (Hopkins, 2006). The second law of thermodynamics is also applicable to plants since they do not convert all the trapped energy from the sun into food energy as some of it is lost. Plants also obey the third law of thermodynamics through their constant need of supply of the sunlight energy to make food and produce energy (Haile and O’Connell, 2005).
The semi conductors also obey the first law of thermodynamics through their ability to convert the sunlight energy into electricity. The second law of thermodynamics is also obeyed since some of the energy is lost in the process of converting sunlight energy into electricity. The third law of thermodynamics is also conformed to due to the fact that the semi conductor needs to constantly trap the sun’s energy in order to produce electricity (Haile and O’Connell, 2005).