Usually solar cells are very thin and are found on houses and buildings. These thin-film solar cells are made with rigid glass substrates and hence can be stick on some certain surfaces. But recently engineers at Stanford University have created world’s first peel-and-stick thin solar cells that can be stuck on nearly any surface like decals. The new peel and stick solar panels actually work more like temporary tattoos.
Stanford University engineers have created thin and flexible peel-and-stick cells that are made from standard materials. Engineers first used a 300-nm layer of nickel onto a rigid silicon/silicon dioxide wafer. Then they deposited the thin-film solar cells onto the nickel using standard fabrication techniques. After that they applied a protective polymer over the cells. Next the applied a layer of thermal release tape over the protective polymer. Then engineers submerged the newly produced material in room-temperature water and peeled back one edge of the tape. This let the water seep in between the nickel layer and the wafer.
When the nickel was completely separated from the wafer, the researchers got a bare wafer and the tape. Later engineers put the tape and its contents at 90ºC (194ºF) heated to for few seconds. In the mean time, engineers applied adhesive to the non-tape side, and after that, the applied the whole thing to a chosen surface. Hence at a certain time, the tape subsequently peeled off and the polymer-covered cells were adhered like a decal.
Researchers are saying these flexible peel-and-stick cells can be fit nearly on any surface, like a sticker. This breakthrough research has been described on December 20 in the Scientific Reports journal.