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Photovoltaic cells as stickers, applicable anywhere, on any surface. This is the new frontier of photovoltaic, thanks to thin film technology and the manufacturing process developed by Stanford University.
There photovoltaic technology makes great strides. In a short time we have gone from the classic rigid cells, to thin films, which today have become adhesive and are ready to be applied anywhere, you don't need a smooth surface to produce clean energy from the sun.
Unlike the thin film photovoltaic seen to date, the adhesive cells of Stanford University do not require any final substrate, you do not need a rigid base for the set-up. Chi Hwan Lee, lead author of the study, explains: "The thin film is traditionally fixed on rigid silicon and glass substrates, significantly limiting their use. Alternative or 'universal' substrates are difficult to use for the photovoltaic, because they generally have irregular surfaces and do not get along with the chemical and thermal processes necessary for production ".
Stanford's manufacturing process has exceeded this limit. What does the production process involve? First, a nickel film only 300 nm thick is placed on a silicon / silicon dioxide wafer. Then the cell is covered with a protective polymer and then a thermal transfer ribbon adheres to the technology.
The innovation obtained is a sort of ready-to-use decal. To remove it from the wafer, just dip it in water at room temperature. Water, penetrating the interface between nickel and silicon dioxide, will detach the photovoltaic unit from the wafer. There photovoltaic cell, thus obtained, it can be applied on any surface but only after having heated it for a few seconds at 90 ° C.
The finished result guarantees the same performance as the photovoltaic cell starting point but with one big difference: unity photovoltaic it might be "stuck " everywhere, on helmets, cell phones, convex windows, portable devices or even on clothing!