Printing Solar Cells onto Paper

Imagine decorating your bedroom walls with paper made from the same solar cells that now power your home. New lightweight solar cells can be printed onto paper at a very low cost. 

What's the Latest Development?


Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have printed lightweight solar cells, which can be scrunched up like an accordion yet still conduct electricity, onto untreated copy paper using a technique that could help to slash the cost of producing solar cells. "The team changed an ingredient in the material sandwich that makes up a solar cell. They used a flexible conducting polymer as the bottom electrode in the sandwich instead of a transparent metal oxide. The researchers constructed the solar cell using a dry fabrication process, depositing each layer as a vapour dispersed in a vacuum."

What's the Big Idea?

The glass or plastic backing typically used for solar cells accounts for 25 to 60 per cent of the total cost for materials and so lightweight paper-based cells could significantly reduce photovoltaic production, transportation and installation costs. At the moment, these paper solar cells are only about 1 per cent efficient. But that's still enough to run small electronics like an alarm clock. A lightweight solar cell could be used for wallpaper or window shades and simply installed using staples or glue.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Pixabay
Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less

4 anti-scientific beliefs and their damaging consequences

The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.

Moon Landing Apollo
popular
  • Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
  • Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
  • All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less