Solar Cell Fabrics Could Make Charging Phones Much Easier
Scientists have succeeded in shaping a solar cell into a fiber that's flexible enough to be woven into a fabric that can be used to power an electronic device.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
Penn State professor John Badding and an international team of scientists have combined glass optical fibers with the semiconductor materials found in typical photovoltaics to create a solar cell that, in shape and width, is thinner than a human hair. Their process, which was published last week in the online version of the journal Advanced Materials, built on earlier work that attempted to address the challenge of merging round optical fibers with flat silicon-based electronic chips. High-pressure chemistry techniques allowed them to shape the fundamental elements in those chips into a form that could be incorporated into the fiber.
What's the Big Idea?
Badding says that it's possible to create very long fibers using this method, which enables the weaving of lightweight fabrics that can be used in a wide range of applications including power generation and battery charging. This could be very useful for soldiers in the field, who often carry heavy chargers. The shape of the fabric also lets it receive light at different angles, according to Badding: "[It] would not be as dependent upon where the light is coming from or where the sun is in the horizon and the time of day."
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Are university safe spaces killing intellectual growth?
Our experience of time may be blinding us to its true nature, say scientists.
- Time may not be passing at all, says the Block Universe Theory.
- Time travel may be possible.
- Your perception of time is likely relative to you and limited.
From questionable shipwrecks to outright attacks, they clearly don't want to be bothered.
- Many have tried to contact the Sentinelese, to write about them, or otherwise.
- But the inhabitants of the 23 square mile island in the Bay of Bengal don't want anything to do with the outside world.
- Their numbers are unknown, but either 40 or 500 remain.
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