none

SOLAR CELLS SO LIGHT THEY CAN SIT ON SOAP BUBBLES

29-02-2016
by 
in 

Scientists have now created an incredibly thin and flexible photovoltaic cell that is lightweight enough that they can sit onto of a soap bubble.

The hope of these thin cells is that they will eventually be able to be place on smart clothing or helium balloons.

"It could be so light that you don’t even know it’s there, on your shirt or on your notebook," said one of the researchers, Vladimir Bulović from MIT.

"These cells could simply be an add-on to existing structures."

This versatility is what is causing such a stir. The most important step for the creation of these cells is the way that the scientists are combining the solar cell, the substrate that supports it, and its protective coating, all in one process.

The advantage of growing the cell and the substrate together is that it can protect from dust and other outside containments.

The whole process takes place in a vacuum chamber at room temp, using no harsh chemicals. The vapour deposition techniques – where heat, pressure, and chemical reactions create a very thin coating of a particular material – are used to grow the substrate and the solar cell together.

The team says that it’s the technique not the materials that make this so incredible.

The cells are just one-fiftieth of the thickness of a human hair, and one-thousandth the thickness of existing glass-based cells.

In fact, they may be too thin to be practical: "If you breathe too hard, you might blow it away," said Joel Jean, another of the researchers involved.

The team's findings have been published in Organic Electronics.

Related news & editorials

  1. 23.07.2018
    23.07.2018
    by      In
    The 3M Silver portfolio of bonded abrasives for cutting and grinding in metalworking applications is available now from RS Components, including the latest depressed-centre grinding wheels and cut-off wheels.
    The new abrasives use 3M’s Precision-Shaped Grain technology to deliver faster and cooler... Read More
  2. 20.07.2018
    20.07.2018
    by      In
    Treotham Automation offers a European made range of variable speed drive cables that have the additional benefit of a UV-stabilised outer sheath for greater reliability. Treoflex-UV EMC/VSD cables feature cross-linked XLPE core insulation to guarantee the maximum carrying capacity is achieved while... Read More
  3. 19.07.2018
    19.07.2018
    by      In
    Leuze electronic has come up with a novel process called Smart Process Gating (SPG) that it reckons makes it more economical, simpler and safer to implement muting processes.
    When safety sensors such as light curtains are used to detect unauthorised intrusions in applications such as intralogistics... Read More
  4. 19.07.2018
    19.07.2018
    by      In
    RS Components is expanding the reach of its RS Pro brand with the addition of a line of switch-mode power supplies. The range comprises more than 80 chassis-mount supplies with power ratings from 15 to 1000W and single DC outputs from 5 to 48V.
    The outputs are regulated within ±10%, with ripple and... Read More