Ever think about how amazing it would be if tech as complex as solar cells could be simply sprayed onto a surface? A group of researchers found that a common organic semiconductor may make that situation a reality. Scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently determined that poly(3-hexylthiopene), or P3HT, may be a useful material for creating spray-on transistors. Once the tech is optimized, we could see electronics like solar cells and displays that can be sprayed onto a surface just like paint.
Right now, most solar cells and electronic displays are made with silicon. And while the substance makes for effective technology, it lacks some key attributes: For one, it’s costly. Second, it requires quite a bit of power and third, it’s very rigid. Making solar cells and displays from an organic semiconductor is cheaper, requires less power and it allows products to bend and fold. Plus, think about all the parts and construction materials that could be saved if electronics could be simply sprayed onto a surface.
Don’t expect to purchase spray-able electronics anytime soon. The tech still needs much optimizing before it’s market-ready. Still, discovering materials that can allow such incredible products to be manufactured is a huge step forward for the green tech sector.