Imagine a lightweight, flexible solar cell that could be built into your clothing, allowing you to charge the batteries on gadgets from iPods to smart phones with a little help from the sun.
A team of researchers at the California University Institute of Technology (Caltech) has developed a new, super bendy solar cell made from silicon wire arrays grown on a silicon base.
The new cells enhance the absorption of sunlight and converts photons into electrons using less than half of the amount of expensive crystalline silicon used by conventional solar cells.
Harry Atwater, Howard Hughes Professor, professor of applied physics and materials science, and director of Caltech’s Resnick Institute focusing on sustainability research , led the team in the development of the new solar cells. Atwater said the flexible cells are so rugged they can be rolled up as opposed to traditional solar cells that are made from thin, brittle wafers.