Wearable Solar Cells

In a world of fabrics infused with the power of the sun, recharging could be as simple as plugging devices in to our clothes. Helping this potential future along, chemist John Badding and his colleagues at Pennsylvania State University recently embedded solar cells within flexible wires that can be woven into fabric.

The flexible wires assume the same basic arrangement as a common type of rooftop solar cell, which contains a negatively charged layer, a positively charged layer and a neutral material sandwiched between them. When photons (light particles) from the sun smash into the outer layer of the rooftop cell, they initiate the photovoltaic effect — a cascade of reactions across the charged layers, ultimately generating usable power.

The potential applications for solar threads include flexible garments that could draw power from the sun and allow people to recharge their phones and other devices on the run, but Badding notes there are some broader applications as well.

Source: discovermagazine.comAdded: 14 November 2013