Thursday, November 13, 2008

Eating the sun: spray-on organic solar cells!

Talk about a coat of many colors...Xiaomei Jiang at the University of South Florida and her team of researchers have successfully tested the tiniest solar cells ever built, as a power source for even tinier microscopic machines. The organic cells someday could be added to clothing.

This according to an article in the first issue of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy , which describes an inch-long array of 20 of these cells -- each cell about one quarter the size of a lowercase "o" in a standard 12-point font.

Traditional solar cells use a brittle silicon backing, like computer chips. Jiang's organic solar cells rely upon a polymer that can be dissolved and printed onto flexible material.

"These materials have a lot more potential than traditional silicon," says Jiang. "They could be sprayed on any surface that is exposed to sunlight -- a uniform, a car, a house."

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