MIT Ultrathin Solar Cell

MIT Ultrathin Solar Cell

The solar cell generates a lot of energy per weight: about 6 watts per gram which is about 400 times more than an average silicone solar cell.

MIT Researchers have developed a very thin, lightweight and flexible solar cell.

In the future, the technology allows solar cells to be used for caps, smart phones, paper and even a helium balloon.
Although the development of the ultra-light solar cell – which can float in a soap bubble – is still in its initial phase, the manufacturing process is promising, the MIT researchers said. Therein, the substrate and the layer sun absorbing layer produced at one time on a parylene film: a very thin foil.

From a message of MIT

‘(…) The entire process takes place in a vacuum chamber at room temperature and without the use of any solvents, unlike conventional solar-cell manufacturing, which requires high temperatures and harsh chemicals. In this case, both the substrate and the solar cell are “grown” using established vapor deposition techniques. (…)’

400 times more efficient

To show how thin the solar cell was – fifty times thinner than a human hair – the MIT researchers placed him in a bubble.

The solar cell is not particularly efficient, but it generates a lot of energy per weight: about 6 watts per gram which is about 400 times more than an average silicone solar cell.

Super light weight solar cell

‘(…) That’s important for applications where weight is important, such as on spacecraft or on high-altitude helium balloons used for research. (…)

“It could be so light that you don’t even know it’s there, on your shirt or on your notebook,” [professor]Bulović says. “These cells could simply be an add-on to existing structures.” (…)’

The concept works. It has been proven by the MIT researchers.

Of course there is still a lot of work to be done, said Bulović, but miracles are no longer necessary to further develop the technology.


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