There have been a lot of advancements in solar panel technology in the recent future, however scientists around the world are still frustrated in one regard that most of these cells are rigid and hence must be installed on heavy fixed panels, limiting their applications. To change things around and make solar panels a lot more attractive option for energy generation, researchers at Stanford University have created the world’s first thin-film, flexible solar cells from standard materials. These solar cells can be applied to almost any surface, just like a band-aid.
The peel-and-stick solar cells are made by applying a 300nm layer of nickel on a rigid silicon wafer. Thin-film solar cells are then deposited onto the nickel after which a protective polymer is applied followed by a layer of thermal release tape. Gizmag states that the resulting sandwich of materials is them submerged in water at room temperature and one edge of the tape is peeled off to let water seep in between the nickel and the water.
The process removes nickel completely and what is left behind is a bare wafer and the tape alongside everything important. The remaining stuff is heated to 90 degrees Celsius for some seconds and then adhesive is applied to the non-tape side. Now the thin-film photovoltaic cells can be stuck to any surface such as a cell phone, windows, helmets, car bodies and even paper. The research team is quite excited about the development and believes that the product could open doors to a lot of new eco friendly products and smart technologies.