The dream of sticking solar strips into our mobile devices to recharge its batteries could one day be here. Researchers from Stanford University were able to create the world’s first peel-and-stick thin-film solar cells. The original concept was to develop decal-like solar panels that can be peeled off like band-aids and stuck to virtually any surface.
“Non-conventional or ‘universal’ substrates are difficult to use for photovoltaics because they typically have irregular surfaces and they don’t do well with the thermal and chemical processing necessary to produce today’s solar cells,” says Xiaolin Zheng, a Stanford Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Senior Author of the paper. “We got around these problems by developing this peel-and-stick process, which gives thin-film solar cells flexibility and attachment potential we’ve never seen before, and also reduces their general cost and weight.”
So far, the tests reveal that the peel-and-stick process reliably leaves the thin-film solar cells wholly intact and functional. Zheng added that the technology could soon be applied to thin-film electronics, including printed circuits, ultra thin transistors and LCDs. If you’d like to learn more about this technology, you can read the paper here.