Or to be more exact, it's made of silicon, electronics and inexpensive synthetic materials. What does it do? Why the same thing a regular leaf does-- splitting water molecules into its component oxygen and hydrogen atoms, generating electricity. Introducing MIT Professor Daniel Nocera's leaf solar cell:
"Nocera's leaf is stable -- operating continuously for at least 45 hours without a drop in activity in preliminary tests -- and made of widely available, inexpensive materials -- like silicon, electronics and chemical catalysts. It's also powerful, as much as ten times more efficient at carrying out photosynthesis than a natural leaf.
With a single gallon of water, Nocera says, the chip could produce enough electricity to power a house in a developing country for an entire day. Provide every house on the planet with an artificial leaf and we could satisfy our 14 terrawatt need with just one gallon of water a day."
FUCKING RAD. Goes to show-- even in the synthetic world of manufacturing power sources, the best way to do it is to mimic what nature has been researching for billions of years.