Thursday, April 11, 2013

Peel-And-Stick Thin Film Solar Cells

Hanyang University, South Korea, and Standford University, U.S.A., have successfully developed a  peel-and-stick Si thin film solar cells (TFSCs). The Si wafer is clean and reusable. Moreover, as the peeled-off TFSCs from the Si wafer are thin, light-weight, and flexible, it can be attached onto any form or shape of surface like a sticker.

Professor Dong Rip Kim of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Hanyang University, said, "This method makes possible the overcoming of hardships related to working with traditional solar cells, namely the lack of handling, high manufacturing cost, and limited flexibility while maintaining performance."

One of the main aims of this research was to bring down the price of solar cells. Another was to make solar cells that were not so rigid and heavy, which brings vulnerabilities and demands a lot of concentration in handling. Such limitations have certainly influenced wider application and use, even though solar cells are considered essential to advance renewable energy causes and tackle global warming.

Unlike with standard Si wafers or glass substrates, the researchers use the same fabrication method for these peel-and-stick solar cells but add a metal layer between the fabricated a-Si:H TFSCs and the underlying Si/SiO2 wafer. Importantly, Kim and his colleagues made the light-weight flexible solar cells without modifying any existing fabrication processes, and their performance was maintained even after the transfer. Kim states that their novel technology is not limited to the solar cells only. Numerous other appliances like flexible displays can adopt his method.

Prof. Kim will continue focusing on creating highly efficient, but low costing energy conversion devices with nanotechnology. Moreover, his future research will focus on applying his method in other types of solar cells and in other applications.

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