Solar Energy has been getting all kinds of attention from scientists and researchers across the globe. Now that the cost of production has come down considerable, it is also being seen as a mainstream source of free energy.
However, despite all the developments in the technology, it’s actual applications have remained just in the form of bulky and large solar panels strapped to roofs.
To make this technology truly adaptable, it is important that we move beyond this rigid form factors and begin developing truly flexible and adaptable solar panels.
Taking the lead on this initiative are researchers from South Korea, who have just developed a brand new type of ultra thin Solar Cell which is thinner than Human Hair.
In addition to the thinness, the cells are also quite flexible and offer enhanced bend resistance over their competitors, which makes them the perfect candidate for adoption in digital fabrics and electronic clothing.
To make these qualities feasible on a practical level, the team used a special semiconductor material, called Gallium Arsenide. Furthermore, they stamped the cells directly onto a flexible substrate, using cold welding to make the connection between the electrode and the substrate.
To ensure that the cells don’t loose out in efficiency, the team also placed a metal reflector layer underneath it, so that stray photons could easily be redirected towards the cells.
The focus will now go towards finding all sorts of applications for this new type of cell, and making sure that they are brought to reality.