Researchers at Stanford University have come up with a new process that creates peel and stick solar cells. The new cells are thin and flexible, and by using double sided tape, they can be used on things like phones, windows, paper, and clothes. As the research team lead, Xiaolin Zheng, says, “Now you can put them on helmets, cellphones, convex windows, portable electronic devices, curved roofs, clothing — virtually anything.”
Zheng’s new flexible peel and stick solar cells are actually made on a rigid silicon wafer, unlike most other flexible solar cells. What’s different about these cells is that the sllicon wafer is covered in a 300 nanometer layer of nickel. After the thin-film solar cell is created on the wafer, the cell is then soaked in water, which lets them simply peel the solar cell off the wafer. Once the cells are peeled away, its as simple as adding some double sided tape to the back of the cell so you can stick it on whatever surface you want. Zheng says that this process has several benefits – the cells can be created using standard commercially available techniques for creating thin film solar cells, the silicon wafers can be reused after the solar cells are peeled off, and there’s no loss of efficiency in their thin film cells after its peeled off.