These super-thin solar cells are said to be more effective and user-friendly than the existing and cost-effective photovoltaic cells. Though the photovoltaic cells have always remained efficient, their main draw back is that they can't be incorporated into different panel designs with much ease.
A team of researcher at the University of Illinois, headed by John A. Rogers, has devised this unique solar cell. The team says that this cell could be combined in flexible arrays. Amazingly, these arrays could be partially transparent, though sometimes.
As a matter of interest, experts have given this rare innovative process a bizarre name too- the rubber-stamp approach.
However, the basic formula of making these cells are somewhat similar to that of photovoltaic cells. Like most of the photovoltaic cells, the super-thin solar cells too have p-n junctions- a compulsory feature in almost every photovoltaic cell.
While making, the scientists use a block of single-crystal silicon. On this piece of silicon, a semiconductor, they make a pattern of microbars.
Notably, these microbars, arranged according to a patterned gap, have a thickness of a few micrometers only.
Technically, the method, the scientists use, of making these cells is much more complex and demanding. It is a type of etching process. The blocks, after being made using silicon, are transferred to get printed on the substrates of other materials.
This technique is a time taking event and can be finished in many steps. When the bars are printed on the substrates, it requires a metal grid, as an electrical connector, to cover the structure which leads to electrical connections.
There is no doubt that these innovative and optimized ultra-thin solar cells are going to cause a revolution in the field of solar cells. Moreover, it is going to be too cost-effective. The key to the success of this technology lies in the wide-scale production of these cells.