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PAINT-ON SOLAR CELLS

Posted By Jorge Chapa On July 22, 2007 @ 11:17 pm In Renewable Energy,Solar Power | 28 Comments

painted solar cells, solar panels, cheap solar panels, sustainable power, green power, electricity [1]

In the future you might painting your home not with standard paint, but rather, with a nice coating of energy-generating solar cells. In one of the most interesting developments in solar panel technology so far, researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology [2], directed by Somenath Mitra, claim to have developed a way to create a solar cell that can be painted on flexible plastic sheets. [2]

The findings were presented in a paper [3] for the Journal of Materials Chemistry. In the paper, they describe how using a combination of carbon nanotubes complex and carbon Buckyball molecule [4] they can create a series of snake-like molecular structures. The sunlight excites the polymer backing, which in turn causes it to release electrons.

One of the curious properties of a Buckyball molecule is that it catches the electrons, though it can’t achieve a flow of them. When linked to a nanotube, the Buckyball transfers the electron as though it were a simple copper cable, thus generating electricity. Researchers hope to turn this procedure into a simple and cheap way for consumers to install solar cells in their houses.

“Someday homeowners will even be able to print sheets of these solar cells with inexpensive home-based inkjet printers. Consumers can then slap the finished product on a wall, roof or billboard to create their own power stations.” said Somenath Mitra.

+ New Jersey Institute of Technology report [2]


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[1] Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/07/22/paint-on-solar-cells/

[2] New Jersey Institute of Technology: http://www.njit.edu/publicinfo/press_releases/release_1040.php

[3] paper: http://www.rsc.org/publishing/journals/JM/article.asp?doi=b618518e

[4] Buckyball molecule: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fullerene

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