An unprecedented innovation has been made by the researchers at Stanford University. Development of sheets of sticker solar cells that are so thin and flexible that they can be used like stickers is the innovation in reference here. This innovation can potentially make solar cells unrestrictive as they can be used on varieties of surfaces to harvest energy.
Rigid substrates (surfaces) like glass, silicon, etc. are required for proper function of conventional solar cells. Although thin-film solar cells are flexible, it is tough to find suitable substrates for them. Naturally, substrates are irregular as well as poor chemical and thermal processors, which is drawback that has limited the potential of solar cells considerably. However, sticker solar cells that can be peeled and stuck on surfaces can overcome the issue of suitability of substrates. Incredibly, the efficiency of solar cells is not compromised in this achievement. Thus, the innovation has vastly expanded the application of solar power harvesting technology.
These cells are developed from silicone-metal combination that has a layer of thermal release tape on top of it, which lets it to be peeled off and stuck on a surface. However, simple procedure is required to remove sticker solar cells from silicon wafers. The stickers have to be submerged in normal water at room temperature, which releases its adhesive, followed by application of moderate heat for 1½ minutes. The solar stickers then become applicable.
Researchers tried the sticker on paper, plastic, window panes, etc. The applicability of the stickers was found to be appropriate for every material on which it was tested. This means that sticker solar cells can be applied to roofs of vehicles, riders’ helmets, clothes and almost everything of daily use. Despite the potential of this innovation, researchers have acknowledged that much more has to be studied in this regard to make solar energy readily available and accessible for all.
Transparent Sticker Solar Cells for iPads
People who found the innovation of sticker solar cells mesmerizing have another technological blow in queue to absorb. A newly established technology company has proposed the idea of transparent solar stickers for iPads, which is already under development. It can be considered as progression of the peel-and-stick solar cells but with its own uniqueness. The company claims that the cellular film is going to be developed such that it absorbs wavelength of only UV and IR spectra of light. This allows the visible light to pass through the solar sticker without disturbance. Once developed, such cellular films can be stuck to both sides of the device as they cannot hinder visibility and function.
The pace at which science and technology is advancing it surely is going to reveal more such wondrous innovations in future.