A New Wrinkle in Solar Panel Power
Cheap, flexible solar cells developed by Princeton University engineers can boost electricity generation by 47 percent thanks to wrinkles and folds inspired by the structure of a leaf. Princeton professor Yueh-Lin Loo's team devised the folded surface of the cell by using ultraviolet light to cure a photographic adhesive layer. By controlling how quickly different sections of the adhesive cured, the team induced stresses in the material and produced ripples on the surface. Shallow ripples are called wrinkles and deeper ones are called folds, and the researchers noted that the optimal results were generated by a mix of folds and wrinkles. "Everything hinges on the fact that you can reproduce the wrinkles and folds," Loo says. "By controlling the stresses, we can introduce more or fewer wrinkles and folds."
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