Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wearable Solar Cells

09.05.2014

Solar cells based on stacked textile electrodes for integration into fabrics

Your tablet on your jacket sleeve, your smartphone in your watch—conventional batteries are not practicable for ever-lighter wearable electronic devices. A possible alternative is solar cells in the form of a textile that can simple be integrated into clothing. In the journal Angewandte Chemie Chinese researchers have now introduced novel, efficient solar cells based on stable, flexible textile electrodes that can be integrated into fabrics.

Various types of threadlike solar cells that can be woven into textiles have previously been produced by twisting two electrically conducting fibers together as electrodes. Practical application of these has been hampered by the fact that it is difficult to make long, efficient, thread-shaped electrodes.

The wire-shaped cells are limited to lengths of a few millimeters. It has also been difficult to connect a larger number of crossed wire-shaped solar cells that have been woven into electronic textiles.

A team from Fudan University and Tongii University in Shanghai has now developed an alternative approach for the production of flexible solar cells that can be integrated into fabrics. Their method is based on textile electrodes that are stacked into layers.

Solar cells need a working electrode that captures light, as well as a counter electrode and an electrolyte. Researchers led by Huisheng Peng produced their working electrode by weaving titanium wires with a diameter of 130 µm into a fabric. They then used an electrochemical process to grow a layer of parallel titanium dioxide nanotubes perpendicular to the wires.

In a final step, a special dye was introduced into the titanium dioxide nanotubes. For the counter electrode, the researchers produced layers of highly parallel carbon nanotubes that were then twisted into fine threads with a high degree of mechanical strength, which were in turn woven into a textile.

One layer each of working electrode and counter electrode were stacked on top of each other and the double layer was soaked with a liquid electrolyte and sealed or equipped with a solid electrolyte.

When the dye molecules are excited by light, they to release electrons into the conducting band of the titanium dioxide. These charges are carried away through the titanium wires and through an attached external circuit to the counter electrode. The electrolyte takes up electrons from the counter electrode by means of a redox reaction, transferring them back to the ionized dye molecules.

The stacked textile electrodes also work well when they are bent, which allows the textile solar cells to be easily integrated into knit fabrics or other flexible structures. By using several small textile solar cells, the researchers were able to power an LED.

About the Author

Dr. Huisheng Peng is professor in the Department of Macromolecular Science at Fudan University, and has focused on the development of wearable energy devices. He has received over twenty national and international honors and awards including the Chinese Young Scientist Award and Chinese Chemical Society Prize for Young Scientists.

Author: Huisheng Peng, Fudan University, Shanghai (China), http://www.polymer.fudan.edu.cn/polymer/research/Penghs/member_en.htm

Title: Wearable Solar Cells by Stacking Textile Electrodes

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201402561

Dr. Huisheng Peng | Angewandte Chemie

Further reports about: Cells Wearable Solar Cells dioxide dye electrode electrodes electrolyte electrons textile textiles titanium

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A cell senses its own curves: New research from the MBL Whitman Center
29.04.2016 | Marine Biological Laboratory

nachricht A New Discovery in the Fight against Cancer: Tumor Cells Switch to a Different Mode
29.04.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny microbots that can clean up water

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.

Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...

Im Focus: ORNL researchers discover new state of water molecule

Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.

In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...

Im Focus: Bionic Lightweight Design researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute at Hannover Messe 2016

Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid

Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...

Im Focus: New world record for fullerene-free polymer solar cells

Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.

Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin glass is up and coming

As one of the leading R&D partners in the development of surface technologies and organic electronics, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP will be exhibiting its recent achievements in vacuum coating of ultra-thin glass at SVC TechCon 2016 (Booth 846), taking place in Indianapolis / USA from May 9 – 13.

Fraunhofer FEP is an experienced partner for technological developments, known for testing the limits of new materials and for optimization of those materials...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The “AC21 International Forum 2016” is About to Begin

27.04.2016 | Event News

Soft switching combines efficiency and improved electro-magnetic compatibility

15.04.2016 | Event News

Grid-Supportive Buildings Give Boost to Renewable Energy Integration

12.04.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Winds a quarter the speed of light spotted leaving mysterious binary systems

29.04.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Fiber optic biosensor-integrated microfluidic chip to detect glucose levels

29.04.2016 | Health and Medicine

A cell senses its own curves: New research from the MBL Whitman Center

29.04.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>