Thin Flexible Solar Cells Can Be Applied Anywhere

A new kind of “metal sandwich” made of nickel and silicon dioxide allows the creation of thin film solar cells that can be peeled off their substrate and stuck onto just about any surface. If this technique can be exanded to thin film electronics in general, it will open up a new field of products.

Peel-and-stick solar panels – [stanford.edu]

Decal-like application process allows thin, flexible solar panels to be applied to virtually any surface from business cards to roofs to window panes.
By Glen Martin

For all their promise, solar cells have frustrated scientists in one crucial regard – most are rigid. They must be deployed in stiff and often heavy fixed panels, limiting their applications. So researchers have been trying to get photovoltaics to loosen up. The ideal: flexible, decal-like solar panels that can be peeled off like band-aids and stuck to virtually any surface, from papers to window panes.

Now the ideal is real. Stanford researchers have succeeded in developing the world’s first peel-and-stick thin-film solar cells. The advance is described in a paper in the December 20th issue of Scientific Reports.

A Breakthrough in Solar Cells, Peel-and-Stick TFSCs – [hanyang.ac.kr]

Professor Dong Rip Kim of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has succeeded in fabricating peel-and-stick thin film solar cells (TFSCs) with the collaboration of Stanford team led by Professor Xiaolin Zheng. This method makes possible the overcoming of hardships related to working with traditional solar cells, namely the lack of handling, high manufacturing cost, and limited flexibility while maintaining performance. Kim is currently in charge of the Hanyang University Nanotechnology for Energy Conversion Lab. His research interests are solar cells, energy conversion devices using nanomaterials, flexible electronics, nanoelectronics, and nanosensors.

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