I have a friend who recently bought gallium off of Amazon (just for kicks, I have no idea why). I remember seeing that they use a form of gallium to treat photovoltaic solar cells. That got me thinking: how are PV solar cells created? I remember that they are made of a substance like silicon (I do not know exactly what it is) but the descriptions I read about the solar cells were fairly vague. Can anyone give me a more detailed explanation?
What about a general overview about solar cells, and their principal working principle on wikipedia? NREL is one of the better known, international visible labs working on this, with public information provided here, like the regularly updated chart below:
If you want to dive deeper into this topic, there are even on-line classes about sub-topics in this field, like about the emerging organic solar cells. The topic is too broad, has too many ramifications, to be answered here.
As a side note, inorganic solar cells based on materials like metallic silicon start from highly purified materials. Hence I doubt metals available at Amazon were pure enough to build a PV cell able to compete with commercially available modules.