A team of Austrian and Japanese researchers have announced that they’ve succeeded in creating micro thin solar cells that are thinner than the strand of spider silk. The revolutionary thin film device consists of electrodes on plastic foil and measures a mere 1.9 micro meters thick, making it 10 times thinner than the thinnest of all available solar cells, according to the researchers.
This discovery should help revolutionize the development of electronic textiles, synthetic skin and advanced robotics. The research was jointly conducted by Siegfried Bauer, Martin Kaltenbrunner besides other researchers from Johannes Kepler University of Austria along with Tsuyoshi Sekitani and several from the University of Tokyo.
Sekitani has stated that the device can be attached to a person’s clothes to collect solar electricity and this will largely benefit elderly individuals wearing sensors to monitor their health as they would need to carry batteries with them. Users will not feel the weight of these cells and the elasticity can be used in many other applications.
The researcher from the University of Tokyo also added that the device is less prone to damage as it is soft. Because of this, it won’t witness spoilage if it is bent or if its size increases. The solar cells are so thin that even after being layered on a thin mylar material, the cells measure only 0.25 percent of the total thickness of the device.
The research team now aims to increase the overall rate of the device’s sunlight electricity conversion before it can be used at least five years from now.
The power generated by solar cells increases with size and Sekitani added that the cells could be made larger to increase their efficiency. Currently, the cells aren’t powerful enough for any gadget but should be ready for the market in another five years.
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