Mixed metal oxides are not materials that immediately come to mind for use in solar cells. The oxides are known for their usefulness in magnetics, electronics, and optics—not photovoltaics. But a computational study predicts that photovoltaic applications should be added to the list. What’s more, the oxides may outperform classic photovoltaic semiconductors such as silicon (Phys. Rev. Lett., DOI: 10.1103/physrevlett.110.078701). Elias Assmann of Vienna University of Technology, Satoshi Okamoto of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and coworkers used quantum mechanical methods to calculate the properties of structures made from alternating layers of LaVO3 and SrTiO3. The results suggest that owing to the magnitude of such a material’s band gap, a key electronic property, the oxides should absorb sunlight more strongly than do standard solar-cell materials. Furthermore, by tuning the composition of the layers, the band gap can be made to closely match the solar spectrum. The calculations also show that the layered material would be endowed with a built-in electric field that could separate positive and negative excited charge carriers, which is a key step in converting sunlight to electricity.