MIT Scientists Devise New Technique to Manufacture Very Thin Solar Films

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new layer-by-layer manufacturing technique for producing very thin solar films. The solar cells are developed at low temperatures on a tracing paper. These solar cells can be spread over laptops, developed as window blinds, or placed on rooftops. The solar film prototypes were utilized to power an LED display in a demonstration at a news conference.

MIT’s Chemical Engineering Professor, Karen Gleason stated that five layers of material that are deposited on a paper substrate manufacture a cell with every layer performing a separate function. One layer could contain the active material, which releases the electron when it is hit by light, whereas another layer could have the circuit carrying current.

Existing solar cells feature a minimum efficiency rate of 15%, but the ultra-thin solar cell has an efficiency of only 1%. The scientists are planning to increase the efficiency of the paper solar cells by a maximum of 4%.

Gleason added that the institute has a device that enables the scientists to combine atomic and molecular species. The process, when repeated for five times, produces an ultra-thin solar film.


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