Promising Solar-Cell Fabric Technology for Cell Phones, Tablets and Other Devices

A team of researchers made up of scientists, engineers, and chemists from around the global has created ground-breaking technology that combines silicon-based optical fibers with solar cells. The makes it a near reality to integrating solar-cell silicon fibers to produce bendable, curved or twisted solar fabric. The researchers also demonstrated that it could scale the material to multiple meters in length.

Professor John Badding, a Penn State chemistry professor who led the team, posted the information in the online journal of Advanced Materials on December 6. The paper will also appear in a future hard-copy edition of the journal.

First Optical Fiber Research

Earlier this the year, Professor Badding introduced another finding that culminated in the discovery of how to create a crystalline material that permitted them to incorporate optical fiber with high-speed silicon-based integrated circuits. The same chips commonly used in a variety of electronic devices, including personal computers, mobile phones, and solar cells.

In this earlier process, instead of fusing a flat microchip with round optical fibers, the researchers made the decision to construct a new type of optical fiber. The material, which has a slightly thinner width than that of a human hair, required a unique integrated electronic module. This one of a kind component eliminated the need to assimilate fiber-optics with the chip.

Fabrication of the new optical fiber chip requires researchers to employ high-pressure chemistry methods and a deposition process. The procedure builds multiple layers of semiconducting materials into the minuscule holes contained in the optical fiber.

Taking It a Step Further

Employing an identical high-pressure chemistry system, the researchers used fashioned crystalline silicon semiconductor materials to produce a fiber that has the ability to function as a solar cell. Like conventional solar cells of a PV device, the fiber converts the rays of the sun into direct-current (DC) electricity which is electrical power before it is stepped-down to alternating current (AC).

According to Mr. Badding, the team’s objective centers on the creation of a distinctive applications by weaving the silicon fibers into a fabric to create solar battery chargers, power generation technology, chemical detection equipment, and bio-medical devices. Badding believes the fact that the team created flexible solar-cell threads that exceed 10 meters in length makes these applications and more a reality.

For example, the solar-cell fiber can be used to create smart phone, tablets and laptop batteries that have a longer battery life. The material would eliminate expensive PECVD (plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition) process currently uses to create the inflexible solar cells found in batteries and result in a power source that can be worn around a user’s neck or folded. The flexibility of the fibers technology also makes it possible to collect the sun’s radiation from different angles.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.