Glitter Sized Photovoltaic Cells Use Less Silicon, Generate More Electricity
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories
have developed an impressively efficient solar cell that is no bigger than a flake of glitter
. This new tiny cell uses 100 times less silicon to generate the same amount of electricity as conventional solar cells
. This new cell could be easily commercialized since it is made of crystalline silicon and uses the same micro-manufacturing processes typical of modern electronics. In addition, the Sandia researchers expect these new solar cells
to be less expensive, more durable and more efficient that conventional solar
Some pretty cool potential applications include: applying to irregular surfaces including fabrics great for the U.S. military to power its electronics-laden field personnel, applying directly to roofing materials, which may eliminate the cumbersome permitting process currently needed to install a conventional rooftop solar array, and use in surgical implants.