November 3, 2008

Rubber stamping plastic solar cells

Figure out how to form thin films of the right materials with a rubber stamp and you can make inexpensive plastic solar cells even less expensive.

The technique involves pressing a rubber stamp onto a polymer solution contained in wells arranged in a specific pattern, then pressing the stamp onto a surface to produce a patterned thin film of polymer material.

Polymer solar cells are generally inefficient. They convert less than five percent of available light to electricity. But they are potentially inexpensive enough to be practical for powering small devices like sensors. And the rubber stamp technique could lead to inexpensive manufacturing processes.

Research paper:
Pad Printing As a Film Forming Technique for Polymer Solar Cells
Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, published online October 18, 2008

Researcher's homepage:
Frederik Krebs

Related stories and briefs:
Process prints silicon circuits -- precursor research
Stamp bangs out plastic circuits -- precursor research

Back to ERN November 3/10, 2008



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