Scientists create hair thin solar cells

April 10th, 2012 - 6:27 pm ICT by IANS  

London, April 10 (IANS) Scientists have created solar cells so thin and flexible that they can be wrapped around a single strand of human hair.

The ultra-thin film consists of electrodes on a plastic foil and is only 1.9 micrometres thick, a tenth of the thinnest solar cells present available, according to researchers.

Being extremely thin, light and flexible, they can be used in portable electrical charging devices or electronic textiles worn on clothing, the journal Nature Communications reports.

Tsuyoshi Sekitani, from the University of Tokyo, said: “Being ultra-thin means you don’t feel its weight and it is elastic. You could attach the device t your clothes like a badge to collect electricity (from the sun).

“Elderly people who might want to wear sensors to monitor their health would not need to carry around batteries,” added Sekitani, according to the Telegraph.

Scientists and consumers in Japan are increasingly turning to alternative energy sources following last year’s nuclear crisis in Fukushima.

Hopefully, the new ultra-thin solar cells, which were created jointly by researchers from Johannes Kepler University of Austria and contributors from University of Tokyo, will be put to practical use within around five years.

The research team are now working on increasing the rate at which the device is able to convert sunlight into electricity in order to apply it to specific appliances, as well as exploring an increase in cell size, according to Sekitani.

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