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MIT researchers are printing solar cells on sheets of paper

MIT researchers are printing solar cells on sheets of paper

2011-08-19
Source: Geek


Solar power is a great alternative energy source, but it’s unfortunately a rather expensive one. However, researchers at MIT are working on a new and less-expensive way to make solar cells which involves printing them directly on to fabric or paper.

We’re not talking about any fancy paper or fabrics. The MIT researchers discovered the printing process works on just about any paper, from regular printer paper, to tissue paper, and even to already-printed newspaper. However, printing the cells is not as simple. It must be done in a vacuum-tight room where the special “ink” is deposited on the paper. According to an article by MIT’s David L. Chandler, the process is almost as cheap and as easy as printing a photo on your inkjet.

It’s a much easier method than the current one, which needs super high-temperature liquids at several hundred degrees Celsius to create the cells. The new method uses vapors and lower temperatures at less than 120 degrees Celsius. According to Chandler, these “gentle conditions” are what makes it possible to use untreated paper as the substrate.

The substrate of the current method is usually glass and requires a number of other components that are expensive and result in a heavy, rigid object – and that’s not even taking into account the installation costs. With paper or fabric being used as the new substrate, creating the solar cells is much less expensive....





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