Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Flexing for the next silicon wave

30.01.2018

A strategy that uses a screen-printed aluminium circuit to make silicon solar cells extremely flexible could enable them to become portable power sources. Developed by KAUST, such power sources could help to satisfy the growing demand for wearable and implantable devices, foldable displays and vehicle-integrated solar panels.

Crystalline silicon is naturally abundant and highly scalable and has reliable and consistent photovoltaic properties that are appealing for the development of industrial solar cells. However, its rigidity and weight have hindered its application for flexible electronics.


Rigid (left) and flexible (right) crystalline silicon-based solar cells.

Credit: © 2017 KAUST

Attempts at enhancing material flexibility by generating thin films, while maintaining device performance, have fallen short: the resulting solar cells have shown a drop in performance for films thinner than 250 micrometers. "At this thickness, one cannot achieve flexible silicon solar cells," says team leader, Muhammad Hussain, from KAUST.

Now, Hussain's team has created a corrugated array comprising thin, rigid silicon segments using so-called interdigitated back contact solar cells. The segments are interconnected by screen-printed aluminum contacts. These contacts are positioned at the rear to optimize light absorption at the front of the solar cell and facilitate any modifications of the active silicon material. The array can bend and adopt various configurations, such as zigzags and bifacial structures, without cracking or losing its power conversion efficiency.

Starting from large-area crystalline silicon solar cells, the researchers etched a small portion of the cells into 140-micrometer-thick strips, while keeping the thickness of the remaining portion above 240 micrometers.

"This allowed us to lower the bending radius of the cell to 140 micrometers while retaining the efficiency of the bulk (18%), record achievements for both silicon solar cell efficiency and bendability," says lead author Rabab Bahabry, a graduating doctoral student from Saudi Arabia who received her bachelor's degree in physics from King Abdulaziz University.

The researchers demonstrated that a series of five corrugated solar cells lit up multicolored light-emitting diodes. They also wrapped the cells around a glass mug to power a miniature humidity detection system placed on a plant leaf. When exposed to light from a desk lamp and humid conditions, the system turned on an LED and sent a notification to a smartphone.

The team is currently investigating ways to exploit these corrugated solar cells, which, according to Hussain, can be deployed in the most complex topologies. "Our approach is suitable for the Internet of Things and can meet a wide application spectrum," he says.

Media Contact

Carolyn Unck
editor@kaust.edu.sa

http://kaust.edu.sa/ 

Carolyn Unck | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://discovery.kaust.edu.sa/en/article/452/flexing-for-the-next-silicon-wave
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aenm.201702221

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New materials: Growing polymer pelts
19.11.2018 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

nachricht Why geckos can stick to walls
19.11.2018 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Sustainable energy supply in developing and emerging countries: What are the needs?

21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Researchers find social cultures in chimpanzees

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>