A team of researchers working with the Stanford University have recently made it public news that they have succeeded in developing so-called peel-and-stick solar cells.As they explain, their solar cells are fairly similar to thin-film ones, yet what sets them apart is the fact that, unlike the latter, the material on which they are to be applied does not require any previous preparation.
This means that harvesting sun power in order to generate clean electricity is to become an even easier thing to do, primarily because run-off-the-mill surfaces will start being used for this purpose.
Tree Hugger quotes Xiaolin Zheng, presently working as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the Standford University, who wished to draw attention to the fact that, “Nonconventional or 'universal' substrates are difficult to use for photovoltaics because they have irregular surfaces and they don't do well with the thermal and chemical processing necessary to produce today's solar cells.”
Still, “We got around these problems by developing this peel-and-stick process, which gives thin-film solar cells flexibility and attachment potential that we're never seen before, and also reduced their general cost and weight.”
The researchers believe that this new technology they succeeded in coming up with will eventually translate into a wider variety of surfaces being used to generate electricity by means of sun power.
They base their assumption on the fact that, during their laboratory-based experiments, they managed to “glue” these innovative solar cells on surfaces such as paper, plastic and even window glass without their losing the ability to efficiently collect sun energy and put it to better use.
“This is a far more dramatic development than it may initially seem. All the challenges associated with putting solar cells on unconventional materials are avoided with the new process, vastly expanding the potential applications of solar technology,” the researchers explain.
It is their hope that, in the not so distant future, such peel-and-stick solar cells will be added to items such as bike helmets, clothes and cell phones.