November 7, 2008

Solar cells go micro

Tap chipmaking techniques to make solar cells and you've got cells that are small enough to power tiny electronic devices.

A prototype 2.2-square-centimeter array of 20, 1-square-millimeter polymer solar cells produces 7.8 volts, which is enough to provide half the power for a chemical sensor. The photolithography technique has the potential to produce cells as small as one tenth of a millimeter on a side, which is a little wider than a human hair.

The micro solar cells could be used to power small electronic devices like chemical and biological sensors, and labs-on-a-chip.

Research paper:
Fabrication of Organic Solar Array for Applications in Microelectromechanical Systems
Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, published online November 6, 2008

Researchers' homepage:
Nanostructure Optoelectronic Lab, University of South Florida

Related stories and briefs:
Process prints flexible silicon solar cells -- related research

Back to ERN November 17/24, 2008



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