A United States-based company is seeking to produce the tiniest solar cells ever made. Semprius, based in Durham, North Carolina, was inspired by research conducted by Professor John A Rogers and his team at the University of Illinois.
The new cells will be smaller than one-tenth the thickness of conventional solar panels and are flexible enough to be attached to fabrics and plastics. That’s why Semprius is planning to use the ultra-thin solar cells in an array of places, including car sunroofs, awnings and even t-shirts. They have found out “how to grab thin layers of silicon or other inorganics, and put them on whatever substrates you want,” a member of the team said.
If the novel technology succeeds, the researchers say, it may provide the solar-cells industry with alternatives to the fixed installations which are now.
They also concede that though the traditional silicon solar-cells are rigid, heavy and opaque, they dominate the market by being “very reliable and efficient”. And also because there’s plenty of silicon out there. However, the brittleness of silicon limits its uses.