Scientists working with Stanford University have invented the first ever, peel-and-stick solar cells. Working the same way as glass encased solar cells, these cells are highly flexible, ultra thin and can be attached to practically any surface.
Researchers working at Stanford University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering have successfully demonstrated the first working peel-and-stick solar cells. Once fabricated these efficiently produced solar cells are applied to practically any substrate much in the same way a regular sticker is applied.
The process for the new solar cell begins with growing a layer of silicon dioxide onto a standard silicon wafer, and then a super thin layer of nickel metal is deposited on the wafer. The last step is to apply the final layer of a hydrogenated amorphous silicon thin-film solar cell (TFSC). Once complete the solar cells are covered in a thin plastic along with some thermal release tape.
To apply the cell, one places it in regular tap water with the tape partially peeled. Water then permeates the layer between the nickel and silicon dioxide, and the cell separate from the wafer. Lastly, the thermal tape is heated briefly to nearly 200F and then the cell can be stuck to any surface with any kind of adhesive medium. This new solar cell would help develop new products and “directly build TFSCs on diverse previously inaccessible substrates, such as paper, plastic, cell phones and buildings.”
The maker of the solar cell stickers claims that not only does it help preserves the TFSC performance, but will also help rid the problems previously associated with non-conventional substrates by getting rid of any previously needed fabrication, and allow direct application the target substrate. Furthermore, costs will be cut tremendously because less material is needed to build the functional solar cells.