An anonymous reader writes "For the past decade, 'black silicon' has been touted as a way to make super-sensitive image sensors and ultra-efficient solar cells. That's because the material — silicon wafers treated with sulfur gases and femtosecond laser pulses — is much better at absorbing photons and releasing electrons than conventional silicon, at least over certain wavelengths. In 2008, Harvard spinoff SiOnyx went public with its plans to commercialize black silicon. But what happened to those plans? Today SiOnyx revealed in another exclusive that it has raised new venture financing from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and other big investors. It also has formed a key strategic partnership to scale up manufacturing of black silicon — and go after markets in security, surveillance, automotive, consumer devices, and medical imaging."