New high-quality solar panels, as thin as film negatives, could be attached to any material. Picture... power-generating pants!
Solar. . . mini skirts?
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
And with a new technology that's sure to get you hot.
Traditional solar panels are essentially silicon wafers under glass, strung together with electricity-conducting metal. Most tend to be bulky, and stiff--
But not anymore! John Rogers, from the University of Illinois, found a way to loosen them up.
He sliced paper-thin silicon into sections about a hundred times THINNER, then diced it into cubes. The chips-off-the-old-block were then cemented onto sheets of plastic. Finally, he connected the dots with pliable strips of metal. Poof! High-quality solar panels as flexible as film negatives.
The technology's already been licensed to a start-up in North Carolina. The sun-harvesting sheets could be made in any size or shape. . . say, a retractable window shade. Or giant e-skins for airplanes that produce energy on the fly.
The solar cells themselves are virtually transparent, and can be attached to ANY material. Imagine: Office windows turned into power grids, and energy-producing clothes. It's sun. . . city!
Talk about hot pants in Florida! No let's not.